Help! I Don’t Want to Get Divorced but My Spouse Does!

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Getting divorced is a struggle on a good day. When you don’t want to get divorced -- but your spouse does! – it’s even harder.

The truth is that it’s rare that both spouses in a marriage want a divorce right from the start.

Usually, one spouse has been thinking about divorce for months/years/decades while the other spouse has been more or less oblivious. The unaware spouse either didn’t realize that their marriage was THAT bad, or didn’t think his/her spouse would ever actually pull the trigger on divorce.

Either way, the unaware spouse feels blindsided once divorce is out on the table.

The question is, if that’s you – if you don’t want to get divorced, but your spouse does – what can you do about it?

Assess Your Situation

The first thing you have to do when your spouse announces that s/he wants a divorce is to assess what’s really going on. You need to determine whether there’s any chance of saving your marriage, or whether your spouse is just DONE.

How can you know if there’s any hope of saving your marriage?

Start by looking at the way your spouse “broke the news” of divorce to you.

If your spouse threatened divorce in the middle of a heated argument, but now seems to have calmed down, your marriage can probably still be saved.

On the other hand, if your spouse has already moved out of the house and has just had you served with divorce papers, you’re in an entirely different situation.

Question Mark cut in black cardboard with a light shining through it.

Your spouse has not only been thinking about divorce for a long time, but s/he has actively started the divorce process.

That's not a good sign.

The more difficult situation to assess though is when your spouse gives you mixed messages.

One day your spouse says “I love you.” The next day s/he wants a divorce. One day s/he is threatening to move out. The next day s/he acting like nothing ever happened.

Meanwhile, you’re riding a roller coaster of emotions. You are not exactly sure what’s going on, or what you should do. You’re trying to assess a situation that seems to be changing from minute to moment.

You want to believe you can save your marriage. But things keep changing so much, it’s hard to know whether or not that’s actually true.

How to Figure it Out

Hands holding red figures of a man and a woman with the words "Let's talk" between them.

The easiest (and best) way to figure out whether your spouse is serious about divorce is, quite simply, to ask.

You want to know, not only what your spouse is thinking, but what s/he is feeling. You need to know (whether you want to know or not) whether your spouse is involved with someone else.

Most importantly of all, you need to know whether or not your spouse is willing to give your marriage a second chance. In other words, you need to know if there is hope.

The challenge is, your spouse may not give you the straight answer you’re looking for.

If your spouse won’t talk to you about your marriage, or if your spouse is just as confused as you are and can’t figure out what s/he wants, you need help.

The best place to get that help is from a marriage counselor or marriage coach. You might also want to look into discernment counseling and/or individual therapy as well. If none of those options work, you can also try marriage retreats, or faith-based marriage programs.

If you’re a reader, you can find dozens of books and programs both on and off line that are full of relationship advice.

You can even try a trial separation if you think that might help. (But be careful! If your spouse only agrees to do a "trial separation" because it's an easy way to get you used to the idea of a divorce, that does not count as "working on your marriage!")

No matter what you do, the key is to DO something! Ignoring the problems and simply hoping things will work out (or worse, pretending that your marriage is fine!) will not serve you well in the long run.

foot ballroom dancers on the dance floor

It Takes Two to Tango

If your spouse isn’t willing to do anything at all to try to save your marriage, you have a problem.

You can’t work on your marriage alone.

Yes, you can work on yourself. That will absolutely help you get clarity about your relationship. It can even change your relationship. But the fact that your spouse isn’t willing to do the same is a strong indication that s/he has passed the point of caring about saving your marriage. While that doesn’t absolutely mean your marriage is over, it does mean that it’s on life-support.

Here’s why.

If your spouse won’t share his/her perspective about what’s going on in your marriage, you’re left guessing about what’s wrong. You have to guess about what your spouse thinks and feels. You also have to guess about what it will take to fix your relationship.

While your guesses might be spot on, they might also be totally wrong … and you’ll never know.

What’s more, refusing to address a problem in your marriage is a form of stonewalling. As world-renowned marriage expert Dr. John Gotman has noted, stonewalling is one of the “four horsemen” of the apocalypse of a marriage. It is one of the primary indicators that your marriage is not going to last.

The bottom line is that a marriage, by definition, is a union of two people. If one of those two people has mentally or emotionally checked out of the marriage and refuses to engage in any activity that might result in a change of heart, it doesn’t matter too much what the other person does or does not do.

That marriage is not going to work.

What to Do When You Don’t Want to Get Divorced But You Have No Choice

So, if you don’t want a divorce, but your spouse does, and you can’t change his/her mind, what is left?

Quite simply, letting go.

Of course, there is nothing simple about letting go.

It hurts. It hurts like someone just jabbed a hot poker in your heart and twisted it around like a medieval torturer.

But, until you start to deal with that pain, you can’t get past it.

Here’s the unfortunate truth.

You can’t force someone to love you. You can’t force someone to want to be married to you.

And while it only takes one person to get divorced, it takes two to make a marriage.

So if your spouse wants to get divorced, you can make it take longer. You can make it cost more. But you can’t stop it.

Ocean with the serenity prayer superimposed on top of it.

But I Don't Want to Get Divorced!

But, you may say, "I don’t want to get divorced. I don’t believe in divorce. Divorce will destroy my family and mess up my kids! Divorce is wrong!"

All of that may be true (…or not). But the bottom line is: it doesn’t matter.

We live in a world where – regardless of what you believe -- divorce is commonplace. You can get a no-fault divorce in every state in the U.S. and in many other countries as well.

It doesn’t matter whether you believe divorce is right or wrong, good or bad. It exists.

The flipside of that is that we also live in a world where we are blessed to have the opportunity to marry for love. For most of history, it wasn’t that way.

People got married, and stayed married, for economic reasons. It was easier to survive when you pooled your resources.

People got married for social reasons, when your place the world was determined, or at least strongly affected, by who you married.

People got married because their religion, or their family, required it. Until relatively recently, love had nothing to do with marriage.

But, if you want the privilege of marrying for love, you also have to accept the responsibility of maintaining the love in that marriage, or risking that your marriage will end.

If it’s okay to marry for love, it’s also okay to get divorced because the love has dwindled or died.

Denial is Not Your Friend

Of course, knowing that your spouse can divorce you whether you want that to happen or not is very different from accepting that fact. Yet, because it’s a fact you can not change, the only way to deal with it effectively – and to heal from the pain – is to accept what you can not change.

Denying reality doesn’t change reality. It only prolongs your pain.

As Winston Churchill allegedly said, "When you’re going through hell ... keep going!"

Like it or not, you can’t start to heal while your head is buried in the sand.

You need to pick it up, hold it high, and look around to see where you are. If you can’t do that by yourself, then get a good therapist. Join a support group. Do whatever you need to do to help yourself start dealing with your divorce.

scared ostrich burying its head in sand

Life Isn’t Always Easy and It Isn’t Always Fair

Road sign stating, "A Better Place," with storm raging behind it.

Life often takes us places that we don’t want to go. Sometimes it drags us there kicking and screaming. Sometimes we walk there slowly in resignation. But standing still and digging in achieves nothing. Ultimately, life wins.

Life always wins.

It helps to know that, even when you’re at your lowest, and life seems to be the darkest, there is purpose to it all.

"Life," "God," "The Universe," or whatever you call the greater force that moves us all, is bigger than you. There is a plan. You might not know what it is, but it’s there.

When you talk with as many divorced and divorcing people as I do, you recognize patterns in what they say.

Most of them say the same thing. "I never wanted to get divorced. But now I am glad I did. I’ve grown. I’ve changed. And I’m stronger now than I ever was before."

You will be stronger too. Like those who have gone before, you too can live a life that’s not only as good as the one you thought you had before. It’s better ... and it’s real.


This was originally posted on December 12, 2014 and updated on July 13, 2023.

Head shot of Karen Covy in an Orange jacket smiling at the camera with her hand on her chin.

Karen Covy is a Divorce Coach, Lawyer, Mediator, Author, and Speaker. She coaches high net worth professionals and successful business owners to make hard decisions about their marriage with confidence, and to navigate divorce with dignity.  She speaks and writes about decision-making, divorce, and living life on your terms. To connect with Karen and discover how she can help you, CLICK HERE.


dealing with divorce, deciding to divorce, discernment counseling, divorce blog, marriage counseling

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  • I don’t know if my wife is serious about divocing. She does thing to make me angry. When I leave the house for a drive, she will ask, where have you been? What can I ask her to make me belief? We have 4 kids and 1 is about to go to college.

    • Have you tried therapy? Obviously there is something on your wife’s mind. A good therapist can help you get to the bottom of it in a non-threatening way. You can also just try to talk to her about it yourself, but it sounds like you have already tried that.

      • Hey Karen
        My wife wants a divorce and I do not she sign and I did not we try and I beg and it did not work I sat there crying she gave me her ring and told me to move on I can’t

        • I am so sorry to hear that! I feel your pain. If you can, I would really suggest talking to someone about what you are going through. Talking to a therapist would be best. I would say to talk to your wife, but it doesn’t sound like she is willing to talk to you anymore. If she will talk to you and work on the marriage, definitely do that. But, if not, then you need to focus on your own feelings and work on yourself. It doesn’t help to just say “move on.” Moving on is not that easy.

          You can’t force someone to love you, or to stay married to you. As hard as this time is for you right now, know that you will get through this tough time. But, it will be a lot easier if you get some help.

          Sadly, I can’t tell you a lot more than that right now. Please reach out and find a therapist. There is no shame in getting help when your marriage is falling apart.

          Good luck.


          • OK I beg and she sign the papers right in front of me last night which rip my heart out and I felt like when I answered the door the guy gave me the a big folder and I was happy then I open it and I felt like I was having a heart attack and she sign and yell no and cry and fell to my knees and she move my things to other room and I told her no I beg I told I thought I was having a heart attack

          • Hey Karen I got sever last night the guy handed,me a,folder I was,all happy all then I opened it and I felt like I was going to have a heart attack so she says I am going to sign I yell and beg no and fell to my knees because I could not breath and I told her she Rip my heart out and I told her I would not sign and then I went upstairs and she was moving my things in the other room and I told her no crying and begging I had chest pain and blocked the door

          • If you have been served, you need to get a lawyer immediately. You have a limited number of days to respond in court. You don’t want to blow the deadline. You need to find a lawyer in your area as soon as possible.


          • Why is not a good question. You may never know why your wife did what she did. I don’t know why either. Instead of asking why, try asking yourself “How can I deal with this in the most productive way possible?”

            I know I have said this before, but you really need to find a good lawyer and a good therapist. You can not ignore court papers. You can not ignore how you feel. You must deal with both. The right professionals will help you a lot.

            I wish you the best.


          • The lawyer said we will see her in court and it should be easy. I really do not want this but it has to happen I sent her flowers for vday and tell her I am changing she sent them back

          • Karen my ex is getting married again next month I am still trying to win her back but no luck she is happy and they want me to move on she says it happens she fell in love with her new guy when they met and she cheated with him because she did not want to hurt me but she knew she was in love with him

          • I can tell you are still in love with your spouse. I hear how much you want her back. I don’t mean to be insensitive, but I do have a question for you. Why do you want her back?

            Here is a woman who cheated on you. She is in love with someone else. She said she is happy with her life now. While she may still care about you (she did say she wants you to be happy), she clearly does not want to be in a relationship, or a marriage, with you.

            Is this the kind of woman you want to be with?

            Yes, I can understand that you love her. I’ve been in love with someone who cheated on me before. I know what it’s like to want someone so badly that you are willing to overlook the past and start again. I’ve also had the person who I was willing to “forgive” and stay with, still choose to be with their new love instead of me. It hurts like hell! But, at some point, I had enough self-respect left to say, “I’m done. It’s over.” I let go and moved on.

            I didn’t want to spend the rest of my life pining over someone who didn’t want to be with me. Unrequited love might seem great in the movies, but it totally sucks as a lifestyle!

            You are divorced. Your ex has moved on. I don’t want to be cruel, but I have to be honest. It’s probably time for you to move on, too. If you need help dealing with that fact (and there is no shame in needing help!) find a good therapist in your area. S/he can help you let go and adjust. But, based on what you told me, I think that that’s where you need to focus: on letting go.



          • Ok karen even went to see her when she was trying on dresses and she told me to leave and I told her how great she look

        • My husband has anger problms. He gets mad over little things. And im the one to say sorry because i dont want him to be mad at me and i dont like fighting. Last night he got mad at me and yelled at me and said he wants a divorce and he wished he never met me or married me. Today i asked him if he still wants a divorce and he was really rud with me and said yes he does. I am so hurt. And the bad thing is he stays mad for awhile and im so tired of being afraid of doing things that i might make him mad at me. I love him with all my heart. But its like walking on eggshells around him sometimes. What should i do?

          • I can’t tell you what you should do, but I would suggest working with a therapist.

            You can’t change the fact that your husband has anger issues. Only HE can deal with his anger. But the bigger question for you is, why are you putting up with it? Why are you avoiding conflict? Why is it okay for him to treat you so badly?

            I think you might benefit a LOT by working with a good therapist. S/he can give you some tools you can use for dealing with your husband’s anger. S/he can also help you understand your own feelings about your situation.

            I’m not saying that you need to get a divorce. That’s not my call to make. But you could use some support so that you can turn things around for yourself.

            Hope this helps.


          • we were married for 18 years living together for ten in our house you left me overnight cuz I got in a fight with this girl kick me out of the house moved her and had a baby now you divorced me and I’m still madly in love with him and I don’t know why I think he was the one always love and wanted to be with foreverIdont know what to do how do I get rid of the pain and how can I still love him after all that and im alone cause my heart is still with him

          • Getting rid of the pain takes time. If you want to work through the pain faster, having a good therapist can help a lot.

            If you’re not working with a therapist yet, you might want to check out BetterHelp. It’s the world’s largest online counseling service. It can match you with a therapist who meets your needs within 24 hours or less. Since all therapy sessions are conducted online, you can even start now while most therapists’ offices are closed.

            CLICK HERE to check out BetterHelp.

      • My wife has filed for a divorce, we have two amazing children together and i think the marriage is worth saving. She will not go to Marriage counseling. And she doesn’t like to talk about us. I dont know what to do.

        • I wish I had some really awesome advice for you … but unfortunately, I don’t.

          Here’s what you probably don’t want to know. If your wife is truly done and has filed for a divorce, you’re going to be divorced. You can make it take longer. You can make it cost more. But you can’t stop it. (Sorry!)

          I know you think your marriage is worth saving. But, if she doesn’t, you’re stuck. (Again, sorry!)

          The wisest thing you can do right now is to start preparing to get divorced. (Another sorry!)

          Wish I had better news!


          PS One good way to start preparing for divorce is through the online Divorce Road Map Program. You can check it out here if you’re interested.

      • Karen

        My wife of 14yrs wants a separation with the goal of a divorce. We have two children 13(girl) and son (9). Ive made it clear that i don’t want this. I’m getting help from a therapist and our local deacon and she’s noticed changes that I’m trying to make for myself. Am I on the right path?

        Chad Clark

        • Oh my! I don’t know what to tell you. I can say that it SOUNDS like you’re doing the right things. But without knowing a whole lot more about you and your situation (which are details that I’m sure you don’t want to put online!) I can’t tell you anything for sure.

          What I can tell you is that working on yourself is always a good idea. If you’re happy with the changes you’re making, and your wife notices them, that’s great!

          I wish you the best.


    • Hey I file for divorce from my hubby and I had a affair and we made a mistake on our wedding day he was running from his horrible family life and I wanted out of my parents out and we both agree we rush it we never really love it each other and I told him and I having an affair for about 7 months now and I am so happy

  • My husband has suffered trauma from working overseas. He returned home 2 years ago and suddenly after 21 years of marriage hes full of anger and rage. Everything is blamed on me and our teenage sons are wondering what happene to their father. He kept threatening to sperate or divorce. He is denial and has all the signs of ptsd Yet he is refusing counseling. And says it’s all about what he wants. He move out and won’t tell me where his apartment is yet he says if I change the locks he won’t pay any bills during this trial period where he tries to figure things out. This is frustrating

    • That is frustrating. It is hard when you know that someone you love needs help, but won’t get it. The trouble is that you can’t force someone to go to counseling. You can’t control your spouse, or his behavior. The only one you can control is yourself. So the best you can do is try to take care of yourself and your teenage sons, while trying to be as supportive of your husband as possible, within reason. Obviously, you need to make sure that you and your kids are safe at all times. But, while he is taking some time to figure things out for himself, you might want to do the same thing. Think about what you want in life. If he were to leave, how would you survive? If he stays, can you handle it? This is actually a time for you to do some soul-searching yourself. Hopefully, that will lead you to a much better place.

  • My husband wants a divorce but I don’t. I know he has already met with an attorney to get the papers ready. We have a 2 year old and I am 5 months pregnant. He said he doesn’t love me anymore and is emotionally and verbally abusive everyday. I want to make this marriage work especially for the sake of our family and newborn. Divorce will also financially ruin us. I don’t have local family I can lean on for help either. Any advice for a future single mom with another one on the way?

    • First, let me say I am so sorry this is happening to you! It sounds like you are going through a really rough time right now. The first thing I would suggest is getting a good therapist. Especially since you don’t have local family, you will need someone local who can help you get through this. I would also suggest checking out my video about what to do if you are thinking about divorce. It has a lot of good information in it. You can find it at

      If you can get your husband to go to couples counseling with you, that might help to save the marriage. But, if he has already made up his mind to divorce (and it sounds like he may have done exactly that) then the only thing you can do is prepare yourself for divorce. Its sad, but if one person wants out of a marriage, you can make the divorce take longer, or cost more, but you can’t stop it.

      If divorce is in your future, see if your husband would be willing to take a less destructive route than a traditional divorce. Suggest mediation or collaborative divorce. To help figure out what divorce process might be best for you, check out this blog post:How to Choose the Divorce Process that Will Work Best for You

      Good luck. I wish you the best!


      • Hii my husband wants the divorce he already hurt me 2 talking with 2 girls what he never met nasty words about me and our son hes 4 years old now I found out he has a crush on someone who is working with and he started to be really cold with me . Maybe I want the divorce to but I’m all the way from italy with no friendsuccess and no family I don’t have nobody and I feel really sorry for our son.please help me out. Thank you oana

        • Oana,

          Before you get divorced you have to find a way to survive. You need to start thinking about where you are going to live, and how you are going to support yourself until this is done. You also need to think about what is best for your son.

          In your situation, you might want to see if there are any divorce support groups in your area. They can really help you a lot. Finding a good therapist would also be very helpful. Sometimes, your health insurance will cover the cost of therapy, so check into that.

          If you think that there is any way of saving your marriage, then I encourage you to try that first. Go see a marriage counselor if that will help. But, if your husband is determined to divorce you, then you have to deal with that and start making a plan for what you are going to do now.

          Talk to a lawyer and find out what your legal rights and responsibilities are. Gather up all of your financial documents so you know what is going on in your financial life. Also, think about your future, and the future of your son. Whatever you do, you have to make sure he is okay.

          Divorce can seem overwhelming, especially in the beginning. The key is to take it one step at a time.

          One way or another, you are going to get through this.

          I wish you the best.


        • Hi Karen,
          My wife allowed (gave written permission via text) a 26 year old man to have sexual relationship with two of our 15 year old triplet daughters in 2015. I found out there was an investigation by CPS and police yet I was never contacted as my wife lied to police, CPS, & High School Counselor telling them I had no phone, that I was under heavy sedation and unable to attend and just had my leg amputated. The leg was 5 years earlier. I found out this was going on by chance without any proof and my children who were pulled out of 9th grade Class by police for interview because she refused and ignored requests to meet with them. The kids lied to protect her and man they thought they loved and he had also done this to a classmate who’s parents reported the crime. It is the second most serious sex crime on statutes here only 12 or under has worse penalty. I only suspected it and was very upset and I ki kicked this man from our lives though my wife continued to meet with him and passed messages to kids. I sent him a legal correspondence to stay away from my children and not to have any contact and that I would have this investigated. My wife said it was misunderstanding at time and when a CPS letter came and it said “No finding” my wife came to bedroom and slapped it down saying “Here!” “See nothing happened”. We had been arguing and she moved to spare room. I later found that was all true and read text messages on her phone as I was very suspicious while she showered and I was so sick by what I read I vomited. I let her have it verbally. She could not stand the heat. I made arrangements with her to have two of girls live with separate family friends. She, while angry said she wanted a divorce as I broke her trust by going into her phone. She retracted that and few months later moved to an apartment as I refused her request to move out. One of the deflowered daughters wanted to stay with me and has. After mom moved six weeks later my daughter told me the whole story and truth. My wife asked them regularly if they were okay keeping secret as she could go to jail. They did not want that so they did not. At that point it was almost two years since sexual relationship with children and when my daughter was distraught as she was still in love he having been the only person cried and asked if I wanted to know the truth. Now that mom was not around she felt safe to tell me. We are close. I was flabbergasted and next morning callled police. The investigator was the one who had handled the previous unknown investigation and I was very upset I was not contacted. I told him all he had to do was pull me up on computer (I have worked in corrections & with law enforcement for 20 years) and no excuse for not getting in touch with me even though he pulled out his notebook and read his notes to me and they had considered my wife to be hostile after several attempts to interview kids and her getting angry. He could have googled my name and got my phone #. He had dates days and times my wife gave him that I could be contacted and they fit perfectly with my Physical Therapy appointments. So I was not home and he said he had tried coming to my house but no one answered the door. And wife said I was always home unable to go anywhere. Of course all this was lies. She had continued to visit this man during entire year and a half. After I kicked him to curb. She and I continued to have a sexual relationship until June 2017 even though we were living separately and she had filed for divorce when she got angry at me in Nov. 2016. (She would come to house. I was not allowed to go to her apartment ever.) I suspected she was seeing other men and this was true. She did not try to have me served until we had Arguments almost 5 months after filing. Then we had a family trip overseas that she took our financial resources to pay for secretly to make it a gift for me to but waited three months to tell me until arguement and then wanted me to pay her back for my ticket and threatened to remove me from family healthcare insurance provided by her employer. There are months I paid the mortgage on my own as she made much more as I was still on workers Compensation. I hate that I love her so much as it’s been 22 years. CPS was/is investigating. When my daughter told me and i asked if she would be honest with police she did and man was asked and admitted to the sex and was told to turn self in. Two days later he committed suicide over it and his long time best friend and former girlfriend, a school teacher found out next day and committed suicide also as she wanted to get back together with him. My wife refused an order to put daughter in counseling over this and finally the Child Advocacy Center called me to ask me to take over this task since wife had not and they contacted her and all 4 agencies met with her and gave her this order/mandate while I was 800 miles away and was never even told about meeting. Even though I had spoken with School counselor and they alway had my phone number. I took care of it of course. Then, I ended up being talked into going on trip overseas by friends and religious community and Leader as a family perhaps last hurrah withher & kids to Jerusalem, Israel. Upon returning there was letter dismissing divorce. She did nothing until another argument about kids and refiled a year later. A friend of wife was staying with daughter and I as they had issues with own house. My bedroom was off limits to her. When deputy came to serve and I was asleep I take prescribed sleeping meds my door was locked and she jimmied the door in front of deputy and they apparently came in and put envelope on my bed. I did not see or know this for a week. This envelope was found a month later under bed head board. I did not believe wife friend or daughter who heard but was not home. Wife took $150K+ out of retirement plan without telling me and has said half of minemy account is hers too. We have property together she has not push divorce in any way since June 2018. Two children live with me now and just turned 19 (age of majority in our state) & third triplet legally resides at wife’s but is rarely there and is here or staying with girlfriend. Court just sent order for us to set up mediation or file Notice of Default Hearing within 30 days.
          This is NO COINCIDENCE I believe as wife did not was to lose a custody battle or pay for one nor take a parenting class for minor children but now that they just turned nineteen(19) they are not minors yet we are paying college costs and providing living accommodations. We had a holiday party in Dec 2018 and I tried to speak to wife as party was held at house, my residence. She has been out for over two years now. About 2 weeks before that the daughter who has been with me the whole time was at mothers apartment and called to say she was going to sleep there as she had too much to drink there. Drinking age is 21 in our state. I tried to bring it up politely to please not supply alcohol to our children at her place. I do not let them drink here ever. When we had sabbath supper together they would get a small amount of ritual wine. That’s it. I got a “Don’t Start” reply very curtly. And that is it. I have brought up mediation to her but she does not seem to have time. I am just making ends meet now. She has a good job but last year when she got mad and was changing jobs even though I offered to spit health insurance cost she refused and punished me by dropping my coverage. I no coverage for 5 months and i was told this was not allowed by separated couple as it is punitive. She finally got scared she would look bad going to court that way. I love her and looked forward to many more years together. I am not one for divorce but working it out. I can’t believe she is not in jail for children and sexual assault issue. I called CPS last year asking when will the investigation be over and was just told “You will receive a letter of no finding from us or a supeana from Court.” I do not have money to hire good attorney to fight for funds she spent or continued half mortgage payments and repairs needed to sell house as cannot be sold currently without losing money I dont even have. I have been paying all of daughter with me last 3 years expenses(auto insurance, health insurance, cell phone, food, fuel, etc…though she has part time job though & in college and wife has made other kids pay her for all expenses.I am at a loss. I couldn’t care if not divorced at this time as it does not affect her actions other than she can drop health coverage even though I pay her for it and she would rather get rid of house even if lose money as she has it or will take more out of her retirement plan she only had $1,500.00 in when we married but had about $250-$300K in it until she took it out to buy herself things. I do love her a wish nothing more than to have a 50th anniversary if I live to 86. I waited to find a woman I felt comparable with but I never imagined that she would not protect her daughters from the harm they went through and the therapist Bills. I dont know my rights her or how to protect my girls & keep her from giving underage kids alcohol at her place. Home owner taxes just went up this month and now I have even less. I only get $1,790.00 a month until I can walk and work again. My old job pays $40,200.00 annually and I have to budget very carefully. What can I do?

          • I wish I could help you but there is just way too much here for me to even know where to start!

            If you want to know your rights, you need to talk to an attorney in your area. I can not give legal advice online or for any state other than Illinois. Plenty of attorneys give free consultations. Or, you can always try your local legal aid office if you have no money. You might have to wait to get a consultation with them. But at least you will get the advice you need.

            Sorry I can’t help you.

      • Hi my wife wants a divorce. We have been sepreated for at least a month amd she has been talking to other men. She told me she cant let her heart love me or anyone else but we still are intimate with each other. She tells me she loves me but is not in love with me. We have been married for 4 years and have a daughter together. Then she said she doesnt want sex anymore because it gives us mixed emotions for the time being but then she starts to feel the same way again.

        • I don’t know what to tell you, other than that things are not going well in your marriage. (But, you knew that already.)

          You said your wife wants a divorce, but you didn’t say whether you did too. If you don’t, and there is ANY hope of saving your marriage, the best thing you and your wife could do is go to therapy and try to work things out. Getting a trained professional to help you can make a world of difference. On the other hand, if your wife won’t go to therapy, or if she is not interested in saving your marriage, then you are probably going to have to deal with divorce. I know that is probably not what you want to hear, but if you are going to be facing divorce, the sooner you start wrapping your head around that fact, the better off you are going to be.

          I encourage you to learn as much as you can about divorce. I know it sounds like a cliche, but knowledge really is power. Also, you might want to get a therapist for yourself so that you can start to deal with your emotions. Chances are, the next few months are going to be an emotional roller coaster for you.

          I wish I had better news. Sorry.


    • Thank you for posting this. I felt like I was the only one till I read this. I’m going through the exact same thing as I am four months pregnant with a one year old and my husband wants to abandon us because he is ‘satan’ his quote not mine. He has personality disorders that apparently no one knows about except me and refuses to get help. Thank God my family is nearby but I know if it wasn’t then church friends are always willing to help. Maybe you can seek a church out as well. I am so sorry you are going through this and I pray you find some peace in something.

      • Brandy,

        Thank you for sharing! You are definitely not alone! If your husband won’t get the help he needs, you can’t force him to do so. But that doesn’t stop you from getting help. I encourage you to lean on your family and friends right now as much as you need to do so. You, too, will get through this!



        • My wife gave been having issues with our marriage for 5 years. There is no longer a spiritual connection, emotionally unavailable and intimacy in past 3 years. After a number of attempts to talk with her to find out what’s wrong. She shuts down. But opens up to everyone else sometimes other men. Seems to look for validation from others. We tried therapy 3 years. We were getting back on track. Then kind of went right back to same thing. Very little intimacy to only when I initiate. Just me and our daughter go to church alone for years. Mentally its draining. I decided to go to counseling and been in therapy for one year now. Also I have been staying at my moms house/ separated for 9 months now and preparing papers for seperation.
          We have an amazing child together and i think the marriage is worth saving. I not feeling a connection anymore. She will not go to Marriage counseling she says she will go if she finds someone like her. She is a psychologist.

          • I’m not really sure what to tell you. I’m not sure what your wife means when she says she will only go to counseling if she finds someone like her. If what she means is that she will only go to counseling if she finds someone who agrees with her, then I’m not sure where you’re going in counseling. (Sorry!)

            What you need is an independent marriage counselor who can work with both of you. If your wife isn’t willing to work with that kind of a counselor, I’m not sure how much you will achieve in marriage counseling.

            I also wonder how you’re really feeling about your marriage. You said you think it’s worth saving, but you don’t feel a connection anymore. If there is no more connection, what are you trying to save?

            It sounds like your lack of an emotional, physical and spiritual connection has worn down your marriage. While I applaud you for trying to make your marriage work no matter what happens, if all the connection is gone, there may not be much left to save. (Sorry!)



      • So my wife wants a divorce she says that its that I dont show enough affection and it’s been a while since we have been together. She said has wanted to talk to me about the affection but she jist stopped asking but i see a therapist for it now and i am working on getting better. Inhave seriously changed for the better but she doesnt want to let me show her that i can show it.

    • I found a photo of another woman on my husband’s computer and asked about her. “Is there something you’d like to tell me?” A week later he wants a divorce, he doesn’t want to talk or anything, and he says it’s because I’m insecure, once upon a Time he wasn’t too happy with his body image and I worked through it with him and his other insecurities, I only hoped that he’d return that good will and support I have him for over 5 years in our marriage.
      He’s blocked most people from his life except his parents who simply enable him, and he’s never open with his problems. A year ago I asked him to go to couples therapy, but even then he said “No” we’re perfect together.
      I don’t know what to do!

      • It sounds like your husband has some issues. It also sounds like there are issues in your marriage. Your husband doesn’t want to work on them. Now he wants a divorce. While I suppose there are a lot of things you could do right now, the most important one is figuring out what YOU want.

        Do you want a divorce? Do you want to stay married to someone who doesn’t want to work with you on your marriage? Are you willing to live with the problems you currently have in your marriage? Those are the kinds of questions you probably want to be asking yourself right now.

        As for whether your husband should work through things with you because “you’re insecure” (his words) because you did the same for him, all I can say is: relationships don’t work that way. If you love someone, then you help them because you love them. Period. They aren’t obligated to do the same thing for you.

        Of course, it would be great if they did! And, if they won’t help you that tells you a lot about who they are and what the state of your relationship is. But expecting them to do for you what you did for them is a losing proposition.

        Finally, if your husband does want a divorce, the best thing that you can do is to prepare for what’s coming. I know that might not be what you want to hear. (Sorry!) But you can’t force your husband to want to work on your marriage. If he’d rather get a divorce than work on your marriage then, unfortunately, you may be facing a divorce. So, the sooner you can educate yourself about divorce, and get ready for what’s coming, the better off you will be. (Again, sorry!)

        Hope this helps.


  • 80% OG divorces are started by women….. Funny how the examples use men as the spouse pushing divorce…..push aside all the lame ass excuses for why that number is so high and u get a true picture of American women……..80%!!!!!!!!!!! And maybe even higher. We are simply just different animals……loyalty is not a female strong point……… Cheating used to be a mans domain…..and those numbers have closes recently……….what a clusterfuck

      • I think it’s ok to be angry about it. People are way to quick to just quit.
        How do you just stop loving some one. , I think that’s a load of crap

        • I agree with you. Its ok to be angry. Actually, I think you have to be angry at some point. That’s totally normal. You just don’t want to get stuck being angry for the rest of your life. So the key is to allow yourself to be angry, work through your feelings, and then let your anger go.

          Do you ever stop loving your spouse? I don’t know. Personally, I don’t think so, but the love you feel changes. Regardless, even if you still love your spouse, you can’t hang on to a marriage when your spouse wants out. Is it quitting to let someone go who is determined to leave? Is it good to hang on to a marriage with someone who doesn’t want to be married anymore? Those are tough questions. Ultimately, the only one who can answer them is the person asking, the person whose marriage is falling apart.

          • I am going through a similar battle. I was unfaithful to my husband and I am desperately trying to work it out. I have made such a mess. But I dont want him to think I am quitting on us. I am not sure whether to give up or keep showing him how much I love and want him until the end. I am torn at this point.

          • I can hear how much you’re torn. I wish I had a crystal ball and could tell you how things will go for you. But I don’t.

            The truth is, everything is a risk. The only question is: Which risk do you want to take?

            Be patient. You’ll figure out what’s best.


            PS I don’t know if you and he are in counseling or not, but that might help a lot. You also might want to check out Esther Perel’s TED Talk on Why People Cheat.

      • What do you do when you know funny things are going on but your husband tells you your crazy it’s all in your head then he involved our 24 Old to yell at me saying hurtfull things and breaking my heart I’m so afraid I don’t know what to do

        • You are not crazy!

          Let me begin by saying that I don’t know you. I don’t know your spouse. I don’t know if there is any funny business actually going on or not. But I do know that if your gut is screaming at you that something is going on, you would be well-advised to listen to it.

          It is so unfortunate that your husband has involved your 24 year old in whatever is happening in your marriage. That only makes everything so much harder, and so much worse. It also speaks volumes about your husband.

          At this point, you have a couple of choices:

          1. You could ignore your gut and just go on with life as you are. (This is not a good choice, and not likely to work anyway. But lots of people do it.)
          2. You could try to gather proof that your suspicions are either right, or that they are wrong. (This is not a bad option. It may ultimately lead you to find out your right. But it won’t solve the problem or make you happy.)
          3. If you have the money, you could hire a private investigator to find out whether something is going on. (This may get you the proof you are looking for faster, but it will probably cost a lot, and it could backfire on you if your husband finds out about it. Plus, it won’t solve the problem or make you happy. Also, if you find nothing, you will have wasted a lot of time, energy and money.)
          4. You could admit that the fact that you are having these feelings means that something is wrong in your marriage. You can then try to address that issue, and deal with your marital problems. This, in my humble opinion, is the only option that has a shot at actually solving your problem and making you happy in the long run.

          See if your husband will go with you to marriage counseling. Don’t accuse him of anything. You don’t need to. All you need to do is tell him that you are not happy and you want to go to a marriage counselor. If he doesn’t want to go to a counselor, find out if there is anything he is willing to do to work on your marriage. If he is, awesome! Do that. If not, go to counseling yourself. You need to work through your own feelings, and deal with your own pain. Where will that lead you? I can’t say. But staying where you are at and doing nothing is not your best option. Ultimately, you will either start to believe you are crazy, or you will start to go crazy from the stress and the conflict.

          The bottom line for you is to get help. Get to a therapist and get to the bottom of what is really going on.

          I wish you the best.


  • Married 14 years my husband decided one day he wasn’t happy had an affair with a much younger girl but just wants to seperate and not divorce ,he still finically takes care of us , but won’t talk about a divorce or working g things out. I’m lost

    • You may feel lost, but you don’t have to be stuck. What do YOU want to do? That’s what you have to discover. You can’t control your husband. But you can control yourself. So invest in yourself. Get a therapist, or join a support group, or talk to friends, or just take long walks alone in the forest so you can think. But ask yourself what YOU want. When you know the answer to that question, you won’t be lost any more. You will know which way to go.

    • I recently found out that my husband has been sleeping with escorts. There is a history of cheating ( accusations) I saw a photo of him having intercourse. My heart is shattered. I attacked him physically and went to jail ( history of my temper) He states he wants a divorce, refuses to talk and is angry at me. I love my husband and I am beyond confused. I don’t live in the home anymore and I am trying to reconcile my life falling apart. I want my marriage because I love my husband. I Just need any sign that it’s salvageable. I genuinely have forgiven him but it may be too much to move forward in marriage.


      • Dear Distressed,

        You may have forgiven him, but he may not have forgiven you! Unfortunately, physically attacking your ex (even if he was sleeping with escorts!) is never a good idea! I’m sure he has some issues with that. (Which is not to say that that gives him a reason to sleep around either!)

        It sounds like you both have things you need to work on in your marriage. Under the circumstances, your best chance for staying together would probably be with the help of a good marriage counselor.

        I wish you the best.


  • (Sorry this post is so lengthy, but it is an easy read)
    I am in a rut!!!
    My husband came to me (After 30 years together) and said that he “isn’t in love with me anymore”
    I was devastated!!!
    I tried talking to him, asking what I did wrong??
    He said that he just fell out of love with me.

    I could go on and on of things he has said and done throughout this year, but I will try to put it in a nutshell.
    He is a narcissist, has a girlfriend, won’t go to counseling, won’t make a move towards the divorce, makes cash money that I can’t prove, sells a bunch of things from our garage and is impossible to talk to.
    YET, he acts like he’s still “confused” about us.
    He still wants to have sex with me, but won’t hang out like a couple and sleeps in another room.
    Basically, I am nothing but a whore and a maid to him!

    After trying to salvage our marriage and him still having someone on the side and holding on to me as an “option”,
    I am screaming on the inside and have finally had it!!!
    I want out of this marriage!!!!

    I do still have an unconditional love for him, yet I HATE him!!!

    Our debt to income is insane!!!!
    He has 6 vehicles and won’t sell them.
    On paper, I make more than him.
    When I threaten a lawyer and going to court, he gets fired up and says that he will get alimony from me and says: why let lawyers take all the money?

    Well, I make about $3k more than him (On the books, that is)
    Any smart human being would say if this is what you two make, and this is what you owe out, you are to date on all of your payments, then, where is the money coming from to pay these bills???

    In all of this, I am a calm person, always diffusing the fire when he starts on me.

    I already gave $2,600 to a lawyer, who never gets back to me.

    How do I get this divorce when I don’t have any money for a lawyer & has a guy that won’t negotiate with me and lives his double life???

    I have a home that could make money for me, yet we owe too much on it, that I won’t be able to keep it on my income alone.
    I could rent our 8 car garage out and have a renter living above the garage too!

    I can’t get a second job right now to show that I could afford the home on my own, cause if I make even more money on paper, he will definitely try to get support from me.

    My paycheck is lousy. It goes to bills every week.

    No doubt, this guy can make over $30k more than his check, but I don’t even care about that.

    I am not up for the fight,

    I am so not into going into lawyer debt either.

    I am not caring if he’s hoarding money or anything.

    I feel like telling him to let’s sell the house and divide the costs of the vehicles and be done with this.

    (Even when we do talk about selling the house, he is telling me not to go through a realtor.

    He is so controlling!

    I am tired of his lying and cheating and rather be happy!!!

    Although, earlier this week, he said: what if I told you that I do miss you?
    I said: you miss sex.
    He really didn’t reply. He said no, it’s not just that.
    But, he didn’t say anything else!!!

    If it isn’t just the sex, then why isn’t he saying anything?
    Why are we not doing things as a couple and trying to fix this marriage?

    I don’t believe anything he says.

    He forever hides his cell and tablet too.

    The trust is gone!

    I don’t want to fight with him.
    Many times, I think that I should just say let’s sell this beautiful home that we built together, try to get out of debt as best we can and just move on.

    What I “need” is a place to be able to afford on my own, be debt free and have this divorce done with.

    I just don’t know what to do.

    PS: We don’t have children either.

    Any advice would be great!!!!

    Thanks for reading!!!

    • Oh my! Where do I start?

      Clearly, you have a lot going on! Ok, the biggest thing I can tell you is to stop and take a big deep breath! Right now you seem overwhelmed! … and I don’t blame you. But, to get back into a better place you need to take a look at your situation, step by step.

      (Before I start into some suggestions, I have to tell you that this is NOT legal advice and I can not be your attorney! For legal advice you will need to talk to a lawyer in your state. These are simply practical, real world suggestions from someone who has been working in the divorce field for decades. Take the advice or leave it, as you see fit!)

      Step One: Get a handle on your emotions. If you are not seeing a therapist, coach or counselor, I would highly recommend it. You need to sort through your emotions and start getting them under control so you don’t feel like you are riding a roller coaster that is going off the tracks.

      Step Two: Gather information. Get a copy of all of your financial information so you can take a good hard look at your financial situation. You can’t make decisions about your future unless you know what is going on right now. If you don’t know what documents you will need, here is a link to a page where you can get my free Divorce Toolk Kit: There is a document checklist in the tool kit.

      Step Three: Find a good divorce lawyer in your area and get some legal advice about your options. If you are not happy with your current lawyer (and it sounds like you are not) then try to get your money back and hire a new lawyer. I would suggest that you use mediation rather than fighting in court, but mediation will only work if your husband agrees to participate in it (and I mean really participate, not just have his body there while his head is somewhere else) AND if your husband will be honest about his income. If he won’t agree to mediate, or he won’t come clean about his real finances, mediation won’t be your best option.

      Ask the lawyer what the law in your state says about maintenance and whether maintenance will be an issue in your case. While I can’t be sure, and can’t give you legal advice online, I can say that it is possible that you are worrying about maintenance for no reason. First find out what a lawyer has to say about it, then you will know whether it is really an issue in your case or not.

      Step Four: Based on the information you get from steps 2 & 3, you can make a plan about what to do after that.

      Hope that helps! I wish you the best.


  • My marriage has been in trouble for many years. My husband thinks it’s 100% my fault, but I see it differently. I realized, though, that in any event, I made mistakes and had a lot of changes to make. This year, I tried my best to make him happy. I thought we were getting along better but he was still acting distant. The last few weeks I started to pressure him to tell me and show me how he feels. He finally said yesterday that he can’t do it, he can’t forgive me for hurting him for so many years, and he wants out.

    I don’t know what to do. I told him how very sorry I am, that I would do anything to relive those years, I will do anything to make him happy. But he doesn’t believe me. He started sleeping in the basement. I asked him if there’s any hope, he said maybe. I said what can I do? He said (angrily) to give him time. I asked how much time. He said, I don’t know, months?

    What should I do? I’m afraid by giving him “time”, and he sleeps in the basement, it will just make us grow further apart. Should I ask him if he’d consider sleeping with me? What should I do? How long should I wait? He won’t go to counseling, I’m sure.

    We’ve been together 20 years and have 3 kids. I love him and don’t believe in divorce. I know I made a mistake by pushing him when he wasn’t ready. Is it possible he really can’t get the feeling for me anymore? But I was the only one trying, doesn’t HE need to at least TRY to be loving, as a verb, in order to feel loving again? I feel like he was just waiting for some feeling to come over him, instead of meeting me halfway.

    What’s the best way to get him back? Do we have a chance?

    Please help, I’m so broken-hearted!!!!

    • Julie,

      I feel your pain. I can sense by what you wrote, how distraught you are by your husband’s move to the basement. I can tell how much you want your marriage to work.

      Ok. Let me start by answering the most important question: do you have a chance? The answer is, of course you do! Does that mean I can guarantee that things will work out? No. Not at all. I don’t have that kind of power. (I wish I did!) But when you asked your husband whether there was any hope, he said “maybe.” He didn’t say no. Unless he was lying to you (which is possible) that means there is hope.

      I am, however, a little bit confused by what you have written. You said that you are afraid by giving hime time, you will just grow further apart. But, you also said “the last few weeks I started to pressure him to tell me and show me how he feels. He finally said yesterday that he can’t do it….” So, pressuring him is clearly counter-productive. I think you know this because you said “I know I made a mistake by pushing him when he wasn’t ready.” You have to give him the time he needs to be ready, even if that means that he ultimately decides he wants a divorce. I know that is hard, and I know that is not what you want to hear. But pressuring him to stay married is just likely to backfire on you.

      You said that you are sure your husband won’t go to counseling. How do you know? Have you asked him? If not, then ask him. A good counselor could help your situation a lot. If he won’t go to counseling, you could try a marriage retreat. Some churches offer “get away” weekends for married couples. Those can be transformational.

      If your husband won’t do any of that, the only choice I see for you is to work on yourself. Not on him. Not on the marriage. On you. Actually, you should think about doing that even if you are going to marriage counseling. Get yourself into individual counseling if you can. Dive into some good self help books or go to some personal development seminars. Meditate. Exercise. Re-connect with the things that make you feel happy. In short, start focusing on becoming the best “you” there is! Will that save your marriage? I don’t know. But, even if it doesn’t it will start to make you feel better That, in itself, is positive.

      You asked whether your husband needs to at least try to be loving, too. In a perfect world, yes, he should love you and you should love him, and you both should show it! But the world isn’t perfect. Here is the truth: you can’t control your husband. You can only control yourself. That is why I suggested that you start working on yourself, and on making YOU happy.

      I am not saying to ignore him, or not to try to make your marriage work. But the man asked for time. Give it to him. In the meantime, work on you. When you do that, you will start to change. And, here is the secret: when you change, your relationship will change. I can’t promise you that that means your marriage will work out. You said it has been bad for a long time. It is not going to go from bad to good overnight. But, once you start showing up differently in your marriage, your husband may change his mind about wanting out.

      I hope that helps. Please let me know how things work out.

      All the best.


    • Wow your post was so enlightening to read. I am on the other end of this spectrum in so many ways. My husband and I have been married for 20 years, and now I finally want out. Has taken me years for the courage to come up to make this decision and to act on it. Though for years I have been unhappily married to him. He’s a pretty great father, when he is on. He’s been quite supportive of me and my longings, but beyond that it’s been one emotional explosion after another. You can only go on, for so long when that’s your life. I tried for years to stick it out, for our kids. Till finally, one day I was unable. I realize I made many errors in this marriage, it’s not all his fault. Though if I could do it again, there is one thing I would change. I would of not stayed quiet, allowing countless indiscretions to occur, with nothing more than an evils stare, or tears, or drinking enough to forget, then hearing a morning apology. That’s all my fault for allowing so much to go unsaid. Here’s the kicker, I finally get my courage to say I want out, and he decides he’ll fix all. Saying, no way are we getting divorced, you’ll destroy our kids and financially everything will fall apart, and on and on…..
      He’s trying oh so ridiculously hard to convince me to want to love him again. It’s maddening, driving me crazy to not be able to leave without a fight. I am not a fighting person, it hurts so much to do what I feel is right.
      We’ve done counseling, kind of like the can of worms, nothing was finalized. Other than he will never give up on wanting to be married to me. Let me tell you, that is absolutely the worst strategy he could use, or possibly pleading with me to stay married for the kids and him.
      Let me add I’ve moved out for the second time this year. I am just so damn emotionally weak to be able to truly move forward.
      I’m just waiting for life to get better than it is right now.
      Good luck to everybody out there who is struggling in some way, just remember, nothing will stay the same forever.

      • Hi Alicia!

        After reading your comment I felt compelled to jump in and say a few things. I was so motivated to respond, though, that I just had to start typing immediately, before I even had my morning coffee! So, if I ramble a bit, or I miss a typo, please excuse me.

        First of all, stop calling yourself emotionally weak! You have been married for 20 years and it sounds like you have been unhappy a lot. You have gone to counseling. You have tried to make things work. Now you are done. You can look at your situation two ways: that you are weak for having stayed so long, or that you are strong for finally getting the courage to do what you know in your heart is right for you. The fact that you have moved out for the second time means that you are struggling with your decision. Again, that doesn’t make you bad or wrong. It means you take your marriage seriously and you have tried to make it work.

        Yes, you made mistakes. We all do. That doesn’t make you wrong or bad or weak. It makes you human. The fact that you can admit that shows incredibly maturity. (And before you brush that off and think, “Well anyone can do that,” let me tell you: I have been working with divorcing people for decades. Trust me. Not everyone does that.)

        The only one who knows what is right for you is you. The only mistake you can make is not listening to your own inner wisdom and following your heart. Does that mean that, whatever you decide, it will be easy? Absolutely not! The important question is not: will I struggle? The important question is: will the struggle be worth it?

        Thanks for your comment.

        I wish you the best.


        • Thank you Karen,
          That’s really what it comes down to, will this struggle be worth it. I can almost shout YES
          I’d like to also mention how important it can be to recognize what your spouse is doing, in attempts to get what they want, which is you/me. Until they begin to ride their own horse, and you will know, they may seek everything through you. All of that is so damaging and toxic to the very core.
          It is great to have some good ramblings.

          • Just a bit more to say. So now, it’s once again, back and forth regarding the mutual agreement to split. Not 24 hours ago he sent me an ALL telling email. I which he explained how he lost all respect for me because I will not try any more to keep our family together.. Along with how I have turned into such a mean person. At that point I put his email on hold, had to vent the fact that he said that! You don’t say that to somebody, especially not your wife whom you are living separated from and are in the throws of negotiating divorce. He keeps on keeping on, has not allowed this marriage to close. Constantly is on the battle front, with not another fighting. I’m done, given up on marriage to him. Tried to do mediation, one visit, does not want to continue with that. He would like him and I to just sit down, talk and figure on how to create a fair divorce settlement. I am not a financial wiz, we own a handful of properties, and owe more than we own. We have a special needs daughter, whose medical care has sometimes been a source of conflict. I will expect alimony and child support. I will expect to share some of the gains made, which may not truly be in the positive for years. How do you do this? This does all go on, right aside him freaking on me, at least in email form. Crazy conflict, which we avoid letting our kids see. I just want to clean this up and finish baking the divorce cake. It’s going on for so long and we are not even close, yet closer than we were last year. Must remember at least one semi positive note : /

          • Alicia,

            What is positive is that you are trying to avoid exposing your kids to the conflict. That is huge. Sitting down and settling your issues yourself is a great idea, but you can’t do that unless you truly understand your finances, and your legal rights and obligations. You may want to consider collaborative divorce, which is a process in which you and your spouse negotiate a settlement outside of court, but you have lawyers and a financial advisor present with you while you talk, to make sure that you are really working out a deal that is in everyone’s best interest (including that of your kids). Here is a link to an article I wrote about collaborative law. Collaborative Divorce: A More Effective Way to Divorce.

            If your hsuband will not consider collaborative divorce, and you can’t get him to return to mediation, you may have to go to court and do your divorce the traditional way. No matter how you do it, though, it sounds like you have a complicated situation. It would not be best to tackle that alone. You should consult with an attorney in your area to get the legal advice that you need in your case.

            As for how long this is all taking, take a deep breath! Divorce always takes longer and costs more than you think. Remember, too, that even though you have been riding this roller coaster for awhile, you haven’t been actively going through the formal divorce process the whole time. That, in and of itself, will take time.

            The bottom line is that it seems like you are going in the right direction. Make sure you don’t rush into anything “just to get your divorce over with.” That is the quickest way to doing things that you end up regretting later.

            Good luck.


        • I have to reply because word for word this is my husband who wants out. He came to me three weeks ago and said he wants out. We’ve been married 17years been together 20 years. I know I was a horrible wife. And he just could not communicate to me how he felt. He moved some of his stuff today. I never realized how much I loved him and I told him I too would change. He said he just can’t do it anymore. He days he loves me and will support me and that he knows he’s at fault too I feel so horrible, to be able to go back and redo but there are no redos. I told him I loved him and I always will. I told him to go and be happy. It breaks my heart but he deserves that much from me. Now I’m sitting here crying and trying my best to be mature but how it hurts. So if he doesn’t see the unhappiness in her eyes than he’s not really looking at her. She needs to go and grab her fistful of happiness. Nothing will come of waiting.

          • Vikki,

            I can hear your pain through your words. I am so sorry that your husband has left and moved on. Sadly, love is not enough to hold together a marriage. I know that is what we were all taught when we were growing up, but there is a lot more to sustaining a marriage than just love.

            I know how much you hurt right now. I have been in failed relationships myself. I know what it is like to still love someone who leaves. I know what it is like to cry all day and all night, day after day, night after night. If I could wave a magic wand and fast-forward you through time to a year from now so you could jump over this pain, I would. But I can’t.

            Anything I say right now will just sound like “Blah blah blah” to you. All you feel is pain. But after every storm, there is quiet. There is peace and a chance for a fresh start. Sometimes there is even a rainbow.

            I hope you find yours.



  • . My husband recently told me he is unhappy in our marriage, said that he wanted a divorce and left – he is currently living in a rental house that is owned by one of his co-workers. This has come completely out of the blue – we have been married for 9 years and have had our share of arguments, but no more than any other married couple. I have asked him if there is someone else, and he says no. I feel completely blind sided – I am completely devastated and do not want this. He is not willing to try counseling or try to work on rebuilding our marriage. We own a home and have an 8 year old daughter. I have been begging him to give us another chance and he refuses. He says he still loves me, but he doesn’t see us happy in the future if we get back together – Is there any hope?

    • Susy,

      I am so sorry to hear this! I can feel your pain through your words. I wish there was more I could do to take that pain away. But I can’t.

      You asked if there was hope. Honestly, I don’t know. If your husband has already moved out, won’t go to counseling, won’t work on rebuilding your marriage, and won’t give you another chance, there is not a lot you can do. It takes 2 people to make a marriage and, if he refuses to be one of them, you are not going to have a marriage left.

      But, just because your husband won’t go to counseling doesn’t mean that you can’t go. I am a big fan of counseling. It really helps you get a handle on your feelings, especially in hard times. You may also want to join a divorce support group where you can connect with others who are in a similar situation. Yes, I understand that you may not be ready to even think about divorce right now. That’s ok. Just know that there is support available if you do go down that road.

      It is really hard to adjust to a loss when you don’t see it coming. But you also don’t want to try to hang onto something that is already gone. It only makes your pain worse, and in the end, usually doesn’t make a difference in the relationship anyway.

      For now, try to focus on yourself, and on your daughter. If her father has moved out, she is probably feeling a huge loss too. Above all, make sure she is ok.

      If there is anything else I can do for you, let me know.

      All the best.


  • Hello…..

    I am writing this because I have noticed all the help you have provided to the others on here. I was just curious as if that is possible with me as well.

    First off, let me say – My wife told me earlier this month, that she wanted a divorce. I personally do NOT want it, but I don’t want her unhappy either.

    I have to admit to you that, I have been a Jerk in this marriage (especially the past 3 or so years) and that I do deserve what is happening to me. I have never physically abused her in any way, but I have abused her emotionally (which we all know is actually worse than physical abuse most of the time). I have been disrespectful and dismissed her feelings, I have ignored her ample suggestions of “I am not going to live like this forever”, I have taken advantage of her is so many ways. Like I said….I was a JERK!!!

    Well, the first night I was in the ‘Denial and Angry’ stage of it all. I was like ‘this isn’t really happening’…..what is she talking about.

    The second night I was in the “Humility and Humble’ stage. I literally broke down and prayed to GOD and dedicated my life and marriage to him.

    The third night, I asked my wife to have a conversation and she said ‘ok, but I was very clear the other night and my decision is still the same”. I said, all I want to do is have a conversation with you. We had the conversation and during it, I told her what I have done, that I have humbled myself before GOD. Well, she thinks is is a ‘manipulation’ thing, and she is very distant and has a very cold heart about it. Well, I really can’t blame her for how I was to her all of these years.

    We have three children – 2 boys ages 7 and 10 and a 1 girl aged 22.. The two boys are together, and the daughter was before we was together (she loved the person, but not enough to marry them situation). I wasn’t very good with her either, instead of being a father figure like I should have been, I was more like a sibling to her. We would constantly be at each other and it didn’t matter how big or small the issue was.

    In short…..I was a lousy husband and not so great father! It is just a shame that it has taken our marriage to get to this point for me to straighten up, and now that I am sincere about it, I feel it is too late!

    I do truly love my family and I would do anything for that ‘one last chance’ to actually be able to show them that I am actually wanting to change and that I am changing!!

    This November it will/would be our 12th anniversary, I would love to be able to share this moment with my wife and family, but I truly feel it is too late and she is given up.

    How do I tell my wife that I am sorry for being a jerk in our marriage and show her that it is sincere and not just some manipulation scheme.

    I really need help and prayers…….I do NOT want a divorce!!!

    Thank you……


    • Hi Doug!

      Ok. Let me give this a go.

      First off, did you tell her what you just told me? I have to tell you, what you just wrote in this comment touched my heart. Now, I admit, I am not the one who has lived through all of the years of your being (as you said) a lousy husband and a not so great father. And, quite honestly, my opinion in your situation is not the opinion that counts. But, if you opened your heart and honestly told your wife what you just told me, I think that would be a great first step toward getting your marriage back on track. It may not change everything (or anything) over night. But it would be a great start.

      That being said, can I promise you that it’s not too late and that you actually CAN get your marriage back on track? No. I hope you can do that. I hope its not too late. But, only time will tell.

      Time, by the way, is the answer to your problem. If you really mean what you say, you need to not only TELL your wife, you need to SHOW your wife. Telling her how sorry you are and telling her you love her, and telling her you will change are all a great first step … but they are only a FIRST step. After that you have to follow through. You have to actually change. Really and truly. From the inside out. Then you have to SHOW her you have changed! After that, you have to keep showing her, and keep showing her, and keep showing her.

      In time, if your wife sees that your change is REAL and not just words, she may start to believe you. Little by little, if you have really changed and keep showing her you changed, the ice around her heart may start to melt. If and when that happens, you can start to rebuild your marriage – better, and stronger than it was before. But until that happens, you can not push her. You just have to be the best husband, father, and human being you can be and see what happens. (Btw, if you don’t change, don’t expect her to change her mind about wanting a divorce.)

      What you need to get your head around is that, even if you do change, it might still be too late. Every person has their own internal “tipping point.” They have a point at which they have just had enough and something inside of them snaps. It is as if a switch inside of them has flipped, and they simply don’t feel the same way any more. Once that switch has been flipped, you cross the “point of no return.” It is extraordinarily hard (if not impossible) to go back after you have crossed that point.

      Have you reached the “point of no return” with your wife? I don’t know. She said she wants a divorce, so maybe you have. But maybe you haven’t. Lots of people say they want a divorce, and they mean it in that moment, but they haven’t quite crossed that “point of no return” yet. (It’s not like there is a neon sign that starts flashing in your head saying “you are now crossing the point of no return in your marriage.”) You are definitely close to that point. But, have you crossed it yet? I don’t know.

      If you really want to save your marriage, you have to work on being a better husband and father … and genuinely mean it! Your change may bring about a change in your marriage. If it doesn’t, at least it will make you better for the future. And remember, even if your marriage doesn’t work out (and I hope for you that it does!), you will be a father forever. So any improvement you can make in your parenting will positively affect your relationship with your kids forever. That, in and of itself, will be a great thing.

      I hope this helps. Please let me know how everything works out.

      All the best.


      • Yes, I have told her multiple times that I am sorry and that I am in the process of changing my life. She doesn’t want to hear it, she says “She has heard this all before” and she is NEEDING this for herself. I don’t know how I am going to explain this to our children, our 10 year old has excepted it but I am not sure how (soon to be) 7 year old will take it. I love my family very much and I do NOT want to lose them. At this point in time however, it is too late, she has already started with the divorce papers (Divorce fIle or whatever – Online). I have no other choice then to do as she wishes, she is not budging from her decision in anyway. She thinks this will actually be a good thing for me as in to being a better father to our children. OK, I agree to that….I could always be a better father, but I also want to be a better husband but yet she doesn’t want any part of it.

        She is wanting me out of the house at the end of October and she has gone as far as to say she would help me with finding a place and pay the first months rent and security deposit and all, but she wants me out. I can’t help to keep myself from crying on a daily basis because of the thought of splitting our family up. I want so bad to be able to repair this, but at this particular moment in our lives it is not fixable. She won’t have any part with going to a counselor for the purpose of reconciliation. She said she would go as to help with the pain of what are children will be going through.

        I am scared to death of what I have ahead of me knowing that I will be waking up alone, going to bed alone, not having any contact with them (other than when I have them) on the same daily basis as I do/did. There have been moments in my (recent) life where I was thinking “Would GOD forgive me for ending my life” but then I come to the reality that I will not do that to my kids. But I am just finding it so hard to cope and deal with this on a day to day basis. I wish there was a switch that I could flip and everything go back to the way it was but I haven’t been able to find it. The more I try to show my wife that I am changing it just seems to push her that much farther away.

        I guess the only thing left for me to do is going on and trying to be the best father to our children that I possibly can and keep trying to show her that I am changing. Maybe one day in the future she will see it and perhaps we can pick things up where we left off, but it a completely different environment then when we left.

        Thanks for listening……..


        • Doug,

          I hear what you are saying and I am so sorry that you have to go through this! I wish I could give you some magic words that you could say to your wife that would make her change her mind, but, sadly, those words don’t exist! It sounds like your wife has passed the point of no return and is not willing to look back. You are wise for recognizing that there is nothing you can do right now to change her mind. There is no switch you can flip that will turn back time.

          As painful as this time is for you, please do not think about taking your life! I don’t know what your personal beliefs are, but I believe that we are all put on this earth for a reason. Ending your life to avoid dealing with your problems now will prevent you from doing whatever it is that you were put here to do. Regardless of what your belief system is, that can not be a good thing. It will also hurt your children more than you can ever imagine. It sounds like those thoughts have passed but, please, if they have not, get help immediately! This is not a solution to your problems, nor will it necessarily end your pain (who knows what lies beyond, right?)

          No one wants to be alone. No one wants to lose their family. But what you need to understand is that what you are facing will change you and your family. But you have no idea what the future holds. You may end up being, as you say, a better father. Even though you will not have your kids with you 24/7, when you do have them, you will probably make a bigger effort to be really present with them, and pay attention to them, since you know how precious your time with them is. As for being alone, maybe your wife will never come back, but that doesn’t mean you will be alone. I don’t have a crystal ball, but I would be willing to bet that after you get through this tough time, if you really want to find someone new, you will do it. When you do, my guess is that you will also learn from what you have been through and you will treat your new relationship differently.

          I know what you are going through is hard, but don’t lose hope. Life has a way of working out in ways we never imagined.



  • I need to continue my rambling rant. My husband is also battling addiction, ups and downs for 20 years. It sure does not set the foundation for a stable marriage. For him maybe, as I have been the enabler, but for me not. I always am fighting my guilt for leaving, separated almost 3 months. He is always pleading, or praying for my return. I don’t want to go back to him. Feel like it has been over for years, but once again the pain of the guilt returns. If I was wealthy it may be an easy decision, at least in part. Kids are involved too, they are hurt. He constantly is stating his desire to be a “family man”, and that he cannot live without his children……
    I am sick of crying over him, of our broken love and lost dreams. He will not give up, only apologies for all the pain he has caused, or speaks to hurt me and criticize me for leaving and breaking up the family. I’ve just lost my love for him, and still feel guilty, so that I always am asking myself if I could go back. Crying, deep pain, fear, darkness of the unknown. Meeting with new found freshness and joy for the future. Excitement for the unknown, Looking forward to a more peaceful time. How does he think I can stay with him, after all his disasters he’s shown me of the demons he holds inside. Should the fact that he has addiction issues be reason for me to stay and continue the help. I sure could keep on trying to help him, but do so with different rules and boundaries. I am exhausted though, want to be done, although right now am feeling I should not. Tomorrow will be different, I will continue to fight this battle that I pray will end some day and I pray even more that my children will not be damaged more so due to my decision to leave.
    What a battle we fight in the face of broken dreams and shattered love. Almost every song for decades is on this topic, love gone bad.
    Please let our lives get better. I ask for a mutual understanding, but fear that will never occur. I need to remind myself that this is not a healthy marriage and that I deserve to be happy. Hope to stick with that thought for at least 48 hours.

    • I can tell how much pain you are in, and my heart goes out to you. All I can say is hang in there! Things will get better! (Yes, it will take awhile. But they will get better!)

      Btw, it has been 48 hours. How is everything going?


      • I am seeing the light of the beautiful day!
        Did’t let another destroy my peace. Could of fallen down to the level of despair I recently have felt, but chose not to. First asked trusted ones for support, and the word trusted is essential, to help navigate unclear messages sent to me. Did that before getting hooked on that emotional bait, that is used all to often. Shortly after, spent the time focusing on myself, my kids and animals. Saying to myself, “Enjoy this time of exploring your life, and it’s okay to not know what is coming next, just be”.

  • I am very much comfused. I and my husband been married for 7years and we have 3 young children. It has been a ruff ride since we both gave up sucessfull careers , relocated to another state (closer to hes family) and Had children- but we have managed to some how work it out true few years yet this far with many incidences. We have 12years age difference – I am younger. We have struggled a lot with work and finances- he would never support me on any jobs choice i would be able to find-due to not having experience – since my career was very unique and existed only in big cities-as of now i am a stay at home mom – without any income of my own.
    He has a habbit of a pornography use- that hurts me and upsets me because he is so emotionally distant from me and I speak up and say how I feel he gets deffencive and treatens me with divorse- but the next day he appologises and he tells me he loves me and I am the only woman he wants to be with and forever. When we talk and can not agree on or compromise he would respond in a way that it would sound like “go find another man” or He wants to divorce- after a day he again tells me how much he loves me. We went to marriage councelor he discontinued after first 3 times – found an excuses one after another and blamed therapyst- usually he blames me for everything- I continued to go alone he would get very angry and things got realy ugly. I stopped going and we decided to make it work- once again- for a short wile it was great- then again pornography got in a way- and a major distance – we would spend evenings without talking at all- It is very lonely marriage for me- but I do beleave in the commitment and the fact that everything is possible if both people are willing to work to make it- I know I do- and he knows I do. I have been trying everything possible – he doent seem to have an ambittion more than a week at the time .We would talk eather we want to stay with one another or divorce he would say he wants to stay and work to improve relationship- when I offer to go to therapyst again but i would like for him to choose one he would say ok and never make an attemp- it is very frustrating for me- because I can not understand is he using the divorce threats as a form of manipulation to get his way of an compromise?!- since he knows how seriously I take a marriage- or is he really thinking about it?- When he is calm- and loving- the kind that i knew he is- He never tells it -only when he is angry. Not to mention he is also very werbally abusive , chriticizes me and our children- when stressed or under preasure. I forgive and forgive and forgive I am losing my time myself and my patience- how can I feel safe and trust him? I dont have any family for support. I do realize we have a cultural differences. I take everything close to hearth and seriously. I am confused.

    • I read what you wrote, and I am trying to think of a way to answer you without being hard on you, because I know you don’t need that on top of everything else you are going through. But the behavior you are describing from your husband is really harmful. You are on a roller-coaster ride of emotions. One minute he is telling you that he loves you, the next he is emotionally distant. He says he wants to work on your marriage, but he refuses to go to counseling. He knows how much his pornography habit is hurting you, but he won’t give it up (or at least not for long). He keeps giving you little grains of hope that things will work out, then he snatches them away and treats you like dirt. What he is doing is not okay on ANY level!

      I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but unless you dramatically change something, your future is not looking very bright.

      Regardless of what your husband says, I think you need to go back to therapy — alone! Don’t even waste your time trying to get him to go. Find yourself a good therapist and focus on yourself for awhile. Start figuring out who you are and what you want. You need to think about what you are worth and what you deserve. And you need to think about what kind of a life you want to make for your kids. Is the life you are living right now the one you want to use to set an example for your kids?

      I also suggest that you do your best to try to put yourself in a position where you can start to support yourself. I understand that you have 3 young children and that your career was located in another state. Find a new career. Or, for the moment, just find a job. If you need to, go back to school. Find a way to start building yourself, and your self esteem, up again.

      Finally, if you want to get clear about what is going on in your marriage, stop listening to the words everyone is saying, and start watching what you and your husband are doing. Your actions, and your husband’s actions, will tell you more than any words ever could.

      Good luck to you.


  • My husband of almost 2 years but together for about 5. Has been saying he wants to be with me but not in a marriage, I don’t want a divorce until we have tried our hardest but it seems to me he’s made up his mind. This occurred while he’s away on a business trip. He insist we’ll talk and come to an agreement when he gets home but I have no idea what to do. He says he still loves me but doesn’t think our relationship would work out in a marriage. What should I do? What is going on with him?

    • Heidi,

      I can’t say what is going on with your husband, but the question I have is what do you think is going on within you? Is this the kind of marriage you want? Are you happy? Do you want to be married to someone who wants “to be with you” but not in a marriage? What does that even mean? This man already married you! You are not his “girlfriend.” You are his wife!

      I don’t mean to be hard on you, but listening to how your husband is treating you is making me a little crazy! He may say he loves you, but he sure isn’t acting like it!

      What you have to decide is: what do YOU want? How do you want to be treated? What do you think YOU deserve? When you can answer those questions honestly, I think you will have a better idea of what you should do.



      • Hello Karen!
        Reading your reply it has me thinking because I was happy before he left I actually felt like we were in the best place we’ve been for a while. Which confuses me that he is feeling this type of way. He has his mood swings every now and then that I knew about before I married him and I accepted that flaw but it never went to this level. It’s beyond frustrating cause it’s like he says one thing and does another, after a week or two he’s speaking to me as if nothing came out of his mouth. His job is very stressful so sometimes I think maybe it’s that but that still doesn’t excuse the way he’s treating me.
        I know he loves me because I see it in his eyes when he looks at me, it’s just one of those things you know, you know. But what I’m not sure is if he is still in love with me.. I obviously want us to work out because I don’t like to give up so quick on something I see potential in. I just don’t know what he wants.

        I’m patiently waiting till he gets home to see what’s going on in his mind but I’m honestly shaken I have no idea to expect.

        • Heidi,

          It sounds like you love your husband, and you believe he loves you. You also know and understand his mood swings. But, the question still remains, what do you want? Can you deal with his mood swings the way they are now (because it is unlikely that they will change, unless he gets help). Don’t worry about whether he is in love with you. If he is not, that is his issue, not yours. Are you in love with him? Even if you are not “in love” with him, do you love him enough that you can overlook his behavior and stay married to him? That seems like a lot to ask, given how you have described the way he treats you. Is this the life you want? The answers you are looking for are inside of you, not him. So spend time thinking about what you want.


  • My husband and I have been married for 2 years now, and during much of the last year I have been struggling with depression. A few days ago he said he wanted to divorce so that I could be happy. He isn’t willing to go to counseling either. I want to save my marriage. Is it possible?

    • Meghan,

      I can’t say whether your marriage can be saved, but I think it is definitely worth exploring. But first, you need to get moving in the right direction yourself.

      What are you doing to work on your depression? That should be your number one priority. How can you expect to be happily married if you are just plain not happy? I can’t say whether your depression is related to your marriage or to other things. But, being depressed has to be affecting your marriage. So, finding a good therapist and tackling your depression is step #1, both in saving your marriage, and in getting you happy overall.

      As for your husband, I’m sorry, but saying that he wants a divorce so that you can be happy is a bit of a cop-out. While it’s lovely that he wants you to be happy, the truth is that, if he really wants you to be happy, he will agree to go to counseling together and work on your marriage. In the big picture, though, couples counseling is step two for you.

      The bottom line is that it seems you have some work to do. Work on yourself first. Once you are a bit happier yourself, your whole marriage might change! If not, then working on that will be your next step.

      Hope this helps!


  • My husband wants a divorce he said he doesn’t want to be married and does not want to try and work things out. He brought home a separation agreement for me to sign. I have to get a legal aid lawyer since I do not make very much money. I have no friends and no family. I am scared to death. Of starting over and how I will be able to support myself.

    • Susan,

      Take a deep breath! You will get through this. Here are a few ideas that can help.

      1. NEVER sign something as important as a separation agreement without first consulting with a lawyer. If you have to go to legal aid, then go to legal aid. Or you may be able to meet with a lawyer who gives you a free consultation and start there. But you must get legal advice.

      2. I know you are scared about starting over and supporting yourself. But you can’t let that fear paralyze you. It’s ok to lay in bed and cry for a day (and I mean one day. That’s it!). But after that you need to get into action. (You will cry more, I know. But the point is, you have to move!) Start brainstorming ways you might be able to support yourself. When your mind tells you: “That won’t work,” or “No one will ever hire you to do that,” ignore it and keep brainstorming. Also, when you meet with a lawyer, ask about alimony and child support. You may end up with more money coming in than you think.

      3. Find a divorce support group. Look at churches and non-profit organizations. These groups not only provide amazing emotional support, but the also usually know what local resources might be available to you. They can point you in the right direction.

      Most of all, hang in there. I am willing to be that you will soon find out that you are stronger than you think!



  • I am in a situation that I don’t fully understand. My husband and I just celebrated our 1st year of marriage at the end of September and on Halloween he packed his things and left.
    We have been struggling a lot lately especially since moving home. He was in the military and I moved 13 hours away to be with him and we were engaged then married 2 weeks later. Since he got out of then military and we moved home, there have been so many struggles, between financial problems, and his family not accepting me into their lives as their daughter in law, and stress from moving and everyday life, we lost sight of each other. The past few months we fought a lot, I would scream and yell about his family and about things not being things not being the way we both wanted them to be.
    We took it out on each other, we are both to blame but every time we agreed we both wanted to work it out. Every time we tried working it out we would try for a couple days or a week and the next thing would come up and we would fight.
    Thursday we had a big fight and i took his ring off my finger and dropped it on the ground outside of his parents house and left to go home. He never came home that night and the next day all he said to me was he just can’t do it anymore and we talk about making it work all the time but it doesn’t.
    On Halloween he came with his brother to our house and packed his things and left as much as I told him how I felt and cried that I didn’t want him to leave, he did. I could tell he wasn’t sure of what he was doing and I could tell he wanted to stay but his brother wouldn’t let it happen and they left.
    I’m not sure what to do now because I don’t want a divorce, and I also don’t want to be left in the dark if he has already gotten a lawyer.
    I know his family is pushing a divorce but deep down I don’t think he is ready for that just yet. I think he’s confused and angry.
    I want to work it out but I’m not sure if that is what he wants. We have no contact at all. He isn’t calling or texting me at all and I haven’t either because I want to give him space.
    I’m not sure if it’s really over or not and I’m not sure what it is I should do next.

    Any advice would be appreciated.
    I don’t want to lose my best friend and the person I call my home. I feel empty inside

    • Kathleen,

      I am so sorry! While it seems like you and your husband have been through a lot, it also sounds like you have tried to figure everything out on your own. At this point, it would be wise to see if you can get some help.

      Have you looked into marriage counseling? If not, you definitely want to do that asap. I suggest that you try to find a good counselor in your area. You will also probably want to reach out to your husband and let him know how you feel. Let him know that you still love him, and that you don’t want to lose him. Tell him that you don’t want to smother him, and you want to give him the space he may need to sort through his feelings on his own, but make sure that he knows that the reason you are staying away is NOT because you don’t care. Most of all, see if you can get him to agree to see a counselor. If so, start going as soon as you can.

      Going to a good counselor or therapist can make an enormous difference in your relationship. That person can help you deal with the stress and strain of marriage. A good therapist can also help you find ways to talk to each other that are not destructive, and don’t end up in an argument.

      If your husband won’t go to a counselor, you might want to go to one on your own. The insights you get from that are sure to be helpful no matter what.

      I wish you the best.


  • Ok let’s start off by saying that my husband and I have been together since 2008. Alot has happen in all these years, I have two kids that are not his and 2 kids that are his.. He treats my two a Lil different than ours together I have cheated on him in 2011 and Than just this last summer. Idk what I’m missing.. but he has very poor communication skills and rather text me than talk face to face, always on his phone, never likes to go out and do things that I like, very shy and I’m out going.. We don’t fight alot but when we do he’s always putting a guilt trip on me like u don’t love me as much as I love u, guess u want a divorce.. he’s very needy and clingy and I feel like I’m his mom at times like he can’t do most of the stuff by himself.. We don’t have time for ourselves anymore like we use to cause of our kids and he don’t like to let me have my freedom and go out w my friends cause he always wants to be with me.. He hardly ever goes out with his friends anymore but he does go out once a week for bowling and he gets a lol upset when it’s my turn to go out.. his actions show me that he’s really not ok with some things which I can see why but I feel like I’m not in love with him any more and idk how to get that back??? We have been trying and I’ve been truthful to him since things went down this summer but he has a hard time trusting me.. He doesn’t want to let me go cause he says I’m the one for him and I was his 1st for everything but I feel like I’m ready to let go.. It seems like everything he does right now just gets on my nerves and just pushes me away even more.. we did go to marriage counseling during the summer time so we have tried that.. I was suggesting that we take a break but he don’t want that at all.. I feel like I need to find myself and my kids keep going threw this every time we go threw it and my oldest daughter had said u guys need to call it quits and move on cause we keep going threw the same thing all the time, it seems like every 4 months or so.. I really feel like I’m ready to let go but it’s so hard.. plz give me some advice..
    Thank u

    • Elsa,

      You have a lot going on, and much of it doesn’t sound too good. You say you are not in love with your husband and you feel like you are ready to let go. Yet, you don’t seem to really want to let go. You say that you have very little time for each other and poor communication. Your husband makes you feel guilty and doesn’t trust you, but you cheated on him. All in all, it sounds like you have a lot of issues to resolve here!

      I know you said you tried marriage counseling and it didn’t work. To get your marriage back on track, though, you and your husband need some help. It sounds like a lot has happened over the years, and you need to deal with all of it, once and for all. Either you need to get back into marriage counseling, or maybe try some other sort of program to work on your marriage. A marriage retreat weekend might do you some good. But, even one great weekend together will not solve all of your marital problems.

      It seems like you have already made up your mind to leave, but don’t want to go because it’s painful. What is worse is that your marital problems are really affecting your kids.

      A good idea would be for you to go to individual therapy yourself. That will help you sort out how you feel, and give you the emotional tools you need to follow through on whatever decision you make — whether you ultimately decide to stay or go. No matter what decision you make, the road in front of you is not going to be easy. Working on a troubled marriage is hard, but so is divorce. If you continue to stay together without dramatically changing your relationship will keep you stuck right where you are. The fact that your marital issues are hurting your kids means that it is time to make a change. Either work on improving your marriage or call it quits.

      I wish you the best.


  • My husband and i have been going through a lot when we were dating i had cheated on him and now when ever we get into an argument he try to bring that up to take away from what he did my husband cheated on me 2 times in our marriage he slept with another women and kissed another women on the neck while out. we get into a lot of arguments and yes after the cheating incident i have asked for a divorce but i didn’t mean it i was very upset we have gotten in multiple physical fights and we have made up from them but recently we have gotten in a really bad one to the point where my husband has told me that he no longer wants to be with me and wants to divorce me i need advice on what i should do like he still tells me he loves me and is nice and loving toward me every so often but then he goes back to the whole he doesn’t want me and tells me not to touch him but then a few hours later or a day later he wants to be close again. what should i do is he serious like or is he just playing with my emotions its so hard to read him with him being mad then ok so often i just need to know what to do and I’m not ready to get a divorce i love my husband so much

    • Acadia,

      I don’t know whether your husband is serious about getting a divorce or not, but I do know that you have some serious problems in your relationship that you need to address as soon as possible.

      First, physical violence is never okay. If there is physical violence in your marriage then that is the first thing you need to deal with. If your husband is beating you, I strongly suggest that you seek help. Call a domestic violence hotline and ask them for advice about your options for dealing with the situation. There are also domestic violence support groups. Try to find one in your area and check it out. You also definitely need to look for a counselor for yourself as soon as you can. It would be great if your husband would go to counseling too, but you can’t control him. If he will go, that’s wonderful. If not, then you go without him.

      It sounds like both of you could benefit from individual therapy, and marriage counseling. You have had a lot of issues in your relationship and it doesn’t sound like you have dealt with them. That’s why they keep coming up again. Until you deal with all of the problems from the past, you can’t hope to have a solid foundation for the future.

      I know you love your husband and want to stay married, but is this the kind of marriage you want to have? In order to build a good marriage, you both have to be willing to work on it. With all that has happened, I think you need help doing that. I think counseling will be your best option.



  • Hello,

    My case is probably not that different than many you’ve heard before. Married 14 years, two kids ages 9 and 5. After several great years together my wife and I started to slowly drift apart, and have now come to the point where we haven’t had sex in two years and she says she doesn’t love me any more.

    Although she has her own issues with depression, disordered eating and poor self-esteem, I know we got where we are because of things we both did, and assume my responsibility in it. Even though we have never had a fight or disrespected each other, we are now talking about divorce. I admit that for many years I was blind to the subtle signs that things were not going well. She felt judged by me, her feelings dismissed, that she had to apologize for being herself. She bottled up her feelings and anger turned into resentment, then turned into contempt. For a year now I’ve tackled the situation full on, openly speaking about our feelings, going to couples and individual therapies, being the best husband, father and person I can be. Nothing I say or do seems to matter much, and she remains distant and unloving. She sees the change in me and now knows I love and cherish her, but she says she can’t reconnect. I know I don’t want a divorce; she says she doesn’t know what she wants. I am the sole bread-winner and have always pampered her and encouraged her to follow her passions, regardless of whether she makes money or not. Now she stays with me only for practical reasons as she doesn’t have a career or a degree and has never looked for a job. She says she could continue living in an unloving, sexless marriage, it is me that is pushing for change, whether that means reconnecting or going our own ways. I can’t fathom knowingly opting for living a life without an emotional, physical and spiritual connection with your spouse. I don’t want or need a roommate, I want my wife back.

    Is it possible, in time, for feelings to change even when something has broken inside? Is it possible to desire and love again a person for whom at one point you felt contempt for? In your experience, have you seen couples come back from something like this?

    Thank you,


    • Oh Miguel!

      I can hear the pain in your words. It sounds like you have already done a lot to change, and to work on the marriage. Sadly, your wife still has not come around.

      Can love and desire be rekindled after they have died? Yes. It is possible…but I will be honest: it doesn’t happen very often. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but I also don’t want to lie to you just to make you feel better in the moment. I don’t think that will help you.

      The truth is that it sounds like you have tried everything to make your marriage work, and now you are just hoping for a miracle. While I believe miracles happen, and have even seen a few in my time, at some point staying in a loveless marriage where you are being used because you are a good provider seems terribly empty.

      Your wife has made her position crystal clear — she doesn’t love you but won’t leave but will continue living with you “for practical reasons.” Is that the kind of marriage you want? It doesn’t sound like it.

      You may want your wife back, but, if she doesn’t want to come back, you can not force her (the “her” that you married) to return. At this point, you need to be asking yourself what YOU want. Are you okay to live in a marriage where your wife doesn’t love you and may never love you? If so, then you can keep going the way you are. Do you want a marriage with a woman who has an emotional, physical and spiritual connection with you? Then you might have to end your marriage and look for a wife who can give that to you.

      I know this is not what you wanted to hear, but I hope it helps some anyway.



      • Karen, thank you for your thoughtful reply. You don’t need to post this follow-up response if you feel it doesn’t add to the discussion, but I wanted to thank you for your kind words. Deep down I know I won’t put up with a loveless, sexless marriage if I knew it would remain permanently that way, but I hold on to the thinnest sliver of hope for change. What makes it particularly difficult for me to move on and find someone who loves me back are my wife’s depression and eating disorder. She’s finally admitted she has problems and has started therapy and is on anti-depressant medication. She is in a dark place right now and part of me feels this is precisely when she needs me to love her unconditionally and support her. The other part of me feels I can’t live like this any more, profoundly unhappy and with none of my needs being met. This consuming quandary is dimming my light and my spirit, but I still can’t see what is right for me and my loved ones.

        I’ve never posted anything online but your responses to people’s stories struck me as sincerely caring and compassionate, and I felt like reaching out. Just sharing is cathartic in itself.

        Again, thank you.


  • Hello,

    My husband and I have been married for less than a year. I have a one month old baby girl now but ever since the beginning of my pregnancy, my husband and I have been arguing a lot. I never thought we would not get along like this. We both changed after marriage.

    I know I am not perfect. I can be very jealous, especially about his ex, with whom he shares a child. A lot of our arguments have to do with me being skeptical about him cheating on me, even though he doesn’t really give me reasons to think so. I was cheated on a lot in previous relationships so I think I brought this trauma over to my marriage.

    Whatever the case may be, he is getting tired of me. He told me this morning that he really wants a divorce. He is afraid that something bad will end up happening. Things have been getting pretty out of hand as of late. Pushing, kicking, screaming, cussing. I feel like my daughter is also being affected by it as she gets angry and scared easily (and she is only one month old!!)

    Moral of the story is I love him and I love my family, but I can’t get over his ex. I have a hard time trusting men in general. He is right about the fighting…it is getting really ugly. I don’t if I should just let him go or try to save this marriage. I also don’t want to look desperate by asking him to stay because he can be very ignorant when he is upset. I mean REALLY rude which only gets me upset all over again.

    • Oh my!

      I applaud your self-awareness. It sounds like you know that you have some things to work on. That’s awesome! (Really!) Many people don’t have that. Now, your next step is to take steps to change so that you can be happier and your relationships can be stronger.

      Here is the truth: whether you get divorced or not, the jealousy and mistrust that you are feeling will be with you until you face those feelings, deal with them, and get over them. You need to get to the bottom of those feelings and learn ways to begin to trust again. You need to understand and believe that you are beautiful and valuable and lovable, just because you are you. Until you do, every relationship you are in will suffer.

      I strongly suggest that you consider getting into therapy yourself as soon as possible. You owe it to yourself, to your marriage and to your baby girl. (Because she will be affected by all this too. As you said, she already gets angry and scared easily.)

      I am concerned about the violence that is happening in your home. That is something you absolutely need to deal with right now! You and your husband need to find a better way to deal with your emotions than physically fighting. I don’t know where you live, but I know that there are domestic violence programs available throughout the country. Please, please, find one and explore it. Many of the programs are offered at low or no cost. While you may not think things are bad enough that you “need” that kind of program, I can assure you that unless you break the pattern of violence now, it will only get worse as time goes on.

      I know you love your husband, but you need to start loving you too. You need to get help, and he may need to do the same.

      Speaking of help, I hope this helped too.

      Good luck.



  • Hi there, great blog. Reading through all of these stories shows that I’m not alone.

    My wife recently told me that she wants a divorce. I’m still reeling from that. I feel really bad as we have a 2 and a 5 year old, and I’m just not in the best financial shape. This was actually a main contributor.

    We moved from Los Angeles to the Bay Area about 2 1/2 years ago for her job. At the time, I was working at a startup where we were trying to get funding, and my wife had a fantastic job making quite a bit of money. Long story short, the startup eventually failed, and as a result, she had to carry the family for just about a year financially. We’ve always had separate financial accounts, so as a result, I racked up a bit of debt on my credit cards and fell behind 2 months on my car. She was NOT understanding or supportive as a typical wife would/should be? I found a great job in March, and just now am starting to get back on my feet and contribute to the house, paying for the kid’s daycare, etc. She continuously rides me about being a “deadbeat” and not contributing. She has these unreasonable expectations about how much I should be “paying her back” each month. She wants me to pay her a total of $8k per month, which is impossible due to how much I earn vs my burn rate. As a result, she sent me some email saying she is going to evict me and to just make it easy and find my own place. I’ve been paying everything I make to her, and now I have nothing and she expects me to move out – in the most expensive market in the US.

    I’m at a loss right now. I guess the only thing I can do is retain an attorney somehow and hope for the best. I have been crying every night now hearing my kids tell me they don’t want me to go. The sad thing is, is that I really love her…

    • Jay,

      Ok, hold on! It seems to me like you and your wife are suffering from a set of failed expectations. Getting to the bottom of what is really going on in your marriage will help you understand whether your marriage can be saved, and, if so, how you can go about getting it back on track.

      While you haven’t said it in so many words, it sounds like there is a whole lot more going on here than just money and debt issues. Even though you said that the fact that you are not in the best financial shape was a “main contributor” to your current problems (and it probably is a huge contributor!), I challenge you to look deeper than that. I would be willing to be that there is more going on than simply a lack of money.

      It sounds like, in your wife’s opinion at least, you broke the unwritten contract she had with you that you would always and continuously be supporting the family (or at least contributing to their support). What is eating at her goes well beyond money. She feels betrayed, like you “broke the rules.” (By the way, please understand that when I say this, I am not making any value judgment about you or about her. I’m not saying she is right and you are wrong, or vice versa. I’m simply stating what you both seem to believe.)

      You probably feel similarly. My guess is that you feel like your wife should be more supportive. She is not. So you feel like she “broke the rules.” So, as important as money is, and as big a role that money is playing in your marriage right now, I suspect that what is really wrecking your marriage is much more than just money. Each of you feels let down and betrayed by the other. Each of you feels that the other one didn’t do what s/he was “supposed” to do. That is destroying your marriage more than the lack of money. After all, if money was the real issue, now that you have a job and are making good money again, there should be no problem.

      You said that the only thing you can do is retain an attorney. I disagree. You can try to work on your marriage. You can go to marriage counseling. You also should probably each consider going to individual therapy for awhile to try to dig up and explore how you are really feeling, and work on growing past the resentment that I suspect is buried within each of you. You can try talking to a spiritual adviser if you have one, or just do your own soul searching.

      Should you go to an attorney? Absolutely. Should you file for divorce? Not necessarily. Doing that will set you on a road that you may not need to go down, or at least one that you don’t need to go down just yet. There is an enormous difference between consulting with an attorney to understand the divorce process, and how the law will apply to your situation should you get divorced, and actually filing for divorce. Know what you are facing. Understand your options. But don’t jump ship unless and until you realize that the holes in it are truly beyond repair.



      PS I’m not sure how she can “evict” you from the marital home. I can’t give you legal advice on this, but I would definitely check with a California attorney before you move out. You probably have more options than you think.

  • Hi Karen,

    My wife of 17 years informed me last week that she wants a divorce. There has been no infidelity on either side. She just decided she wants a fresh start. She has already met with an attorney and is willing to be the one that moves out. We have 1 child who is 17 1/2 and in his senior year of high school. My wife wants to wait until after Christmas to tell him. Her logic is she doesn’t want to ruin his Christmas and the timing will allow him one week to deal with it before returning to school after Christmas break. I have been attempting to deal with it since she told me 1 1/2 weeks ago. I have since been extremely unproductive at work because it taken over my mind and I seemingly can’t go a moment without thinking about it. I have resigned myself to the fact that she is not willing to attempt to save the marriage. She said she does not want to go to counseling. We have been able to keep life at home very normal. Our son has no idea this is coming. One of my wife’s ideas is to tell him right after Christmas but stay in the house until she can buy/rent a townhouse. Another option is to move in with her sister in the interim. I would much rather wait until he has graduates this spring because I fear he will lose his focus in school and his grades will suffer mightily. He is currently in the top 10% of his class and he has a goal to finish in the top 10% because his school makes a big deal of this achievement including a big banquet that he really wants to attend. I believe we can make it until spring/early summer as we are. I feel that waiting will allow him 3 months to deal with the situation before he heads off for college. He will be living on campus so he will be moving out anyway so it seems to me this would be the best approach for him. I should mention that my wife is a stay home mom so our son is a “momma’s boy”. This is another reason I think it would be difficult if she moves out because the plan would be for him to stay with me if she goes to her sister’s.

    I know not every kid is the same and it’s possible he will quickly adjust and finish high school just fine. However, I think it is also possible that it will really mess him up and I don’t want to take that chance. If we can keep things amicable, do you think it would be in our son’s best interest to just keep going business as usual and wait until he has graduated to tell him and get divorced?

    • Geoff,

      Where do I start?

      First of all, you said your wife “just decided” she wants a divorce. She told you 1 1/2 weeks ago, she has alreday spoken to a lawyer, and is ready to move out and move on. No wonder you are not productive at work!

      Clearly, this has been something your wife has been thinking about for a long time. No one “just decides” to end a 17 year marriage overnight. While it sounds like she has made her decision, and there is no turning back, she needs to understand that you now need time to process that decision and adjust to the idea that you will be getting a divorce. It is neither realistic nor fair to expect you to be able to be on board with the divorce, and ready to move forward on her timetable right now. Emotionally, you are not in the same place that she is. You need time to catch up.

      THat having been said, I urge you to take a good hard look at why you want to wait until after your son graduates from high school to tell him. I appreciate that you are genuinely concerned for how he will take the news. You sound like an awesome father and I can tell you want to do the right thing. But, is it possible that some of the reason why you want to delay is because YOU are not ready to deal with the divorce yourself? (By the way, there is no right or wrong answer. It’s just something to think about.)

      I suggest that you find someone you can talk to about this so that you can start to sort out how you feel, and start working through all of the emotions that go along with divorce. If possible, it would be great if you could get your wife to slow down and give you a little time to get your head clear and start dealing with your new reality. I know she won’t like doing that, because she is ready to be divorced today. But you are not. If she can give you the time you need to process this, your actual divorce will go much more smoothly.

      As for your son, I can’t say what is best for him. I don’t know him. I know that your divorce will affect him. But, beyond that, I can’t say whether it would rock his world so much that he will do poorly in school. What I do suggest is that you and your wife meet with a therapist who specializes in working with young adults. Talk to the therapist about this issue, and see what the therapist suggests.

      Here is a link to an excellent TEDx talk from Professor Tamara D. Afifi regarding children and divorce. It is really interesting and it may give you some ideas.



  • My wife and I were living in her parents old home and they provided the financing. It was not a situation that I was ever comfortable with and never felt as though the house actually belong to us and had stated this to my spouse on several occasions. Anytime her parents were in town they stayed at the house which never made me feel comfortable but I would never ask my spouse to have them stay somewhere else as they were her parents. I lost my job after taking family leave due to a neurological disorder called Tinnitus. I did not seek a job due to the stress of the disorder and hearing loss which my spouse said it was fine as she made enough to support both of us. I gave up my expensive car which paid for a new car for her and reduced our debt. All was fine until my wife was laid off and neither of us had any income except for her unemployment which I never touched as we had always had separate bank accounts. Well her parents decided that they were going to sell the house and had made this decision for some time before telling us since the house never went on the market and was sold within 30 days. At this point, she went to live with her parents which I refused to do since I resented they way they had handled the situation. I was left with only one option and that was for me to move to my families home in a different city. Without and warning and reasons which I still do not understand she filed for divorce and mailed me the papers to sign. Well, I was completely caught off guard and realized that this was not a decision she came to on her own and that her parents had more than likely convinced her that it was the correct thing to do. I deduced this because we lived in a small town and the lawyer was a friend of the family. I could go into more specific details, but it would take too long. Bottom line her is that she expected me to sign the papers just because she wanted the divorce. We have tried to discuss the matter, but there is no way she will ever change her mind. If she wants the divorce then I fell there is nothing I can do to stop it but I do not agree with it and do not want to sign my name to a document where I would be lying since I don’t want a divorce. My stance is that if she wants it that bad she must be unhappy and I do not want to stand in the way of her decision. However, I do not want the divorce and do not want to contest it but feel that there must be a way she can have the marriage dissolved without my approval. Obviously she can petition for the divorce without my knowledge or approval so there should be a way for her to dissolve the marriage without me agreeing to it. I do have to add there are no children or joint property issues as well as no cases of infidelity on my part nor do I believe on her part either. Am I being selfish just because I do not want to go on record as stating I am ok with this or agree that a divorce is necessary to me?


    • Andrew,

      You are not being selfish, but you are not being smart either.

      I don’t know what state you live in, and I can’t give you legal advice. But I can tell you that in any state, if your wife wants a divorce, you can make it take longer and you can make it cost more, but you can’t stop it. She can file for divorce without you. Actually, you said she already filed for divorce. That means that SHE has asked the court to grant you a divorce.

      At this point, your divorce is already under way. You may not agree with it, but if you choose not to participate in it, you will have zero control over the outcome. Your wife can ask the court to do whatever she wants with all of the assets that both of you have, and there will be nothing you can do about it because you are not participating in the case. It may not matter whose name they are in. (Check with a lawyer in your area about this.) You also have no idea what might happen regarding spousal support. How would you feel if she gets a divorce judgment entered that says you have to pay her money every month?

      Please understand, I am not trying to stir up a fight between you. It may be that your wife is honest and will take the high road, whether you participate in the divorce or not. But this is YOUR life! You don’t have to prove you didn’t want this divorce. You do have a responsibility to step up and have a voice in what happens in your future, even if it means that you have to participate in a divorce you didn’t want.

      You know who you are! Anyone who looks at the case will clearly see that she is the one who wanted the divorce. Why does anything else matter? (By the way, 99.999% of the population will never look at your divorce case, nor will they know or care whether you participated in it, or simply allowed it to happen “to” you.)

      I don’t mean to be hard on you. But it sounds like it may be time for you to look at things a little bit differently so that you can be in the best position possible to make a new life for yourself.



  • Hello, my husband has pretty much given up on our marriage of 13 years. We have two kids 4 and 9 and soon after they were born tension started to rise in our marriage. We have always had financial problems and and stress due to having kids and both of us working. He was in a dead end job for 10 years and was stuck. I grew more and more resentful over the years because I worked more to pick up the slack. I admit that I said some hurtful things like I hate you or I can’t wait to get divorced someday, but they were out of anger and I didn’t really mean it. He has also said hurtful things and treated me poorly as well. The biggest problem of all was that we never talked about how we felt and never worked through each other’s resentment. We have become very distant and emotionally detached, so much so that I just discovered that my husband has been cross dressing behind my back for ten years and now thinks he may be transgender! I feel like he knew we had problems and just assumed that it was over and just focused on himself instead of us. I knew that our marriage needed help, but up until now I felt so overwhelmed with babies and work that I figured we would work on the marriage some day. Well that someday is here and I feel like he gave up without trying. I don’t think I can forgive him for the lies he kept for the last 10 years and I am also not attracted to him the same way at all now. He keeps blaming me for the ways things turned out, even though he is totally guilty too. We are not getting along and I am not ready for a divorce at all! I am shocked! I thought even though our marriage was not great and we were both really unhappy that we would always just work things out, now he has given me no choice. We have gone to counseling, but he seems to have his mind made up. I am completely devastated and worry how this will effect our kids.

    • Hi Becky,

      It sounds like you have been struggling in your marriage for a long time. Both you and your husband have been focused on other things for years. Believe me, I can totally understand. Working and raising kids is an enormous job and it is easy to let marital problems go simply because you don’t have the energy to face them. As you have found, though, when you do that, your problems only get bigger.

      It sounds like you are hurt because you always assumed that someday, when you had time to focus on your marriage, it would be “fixable.” Sadly, that is not always true.

      Have you spoken with your husband about what he wants? Does he want to work on your marriage? Do you? If so, then you have a chance. But, if he has truly given up, or if he wants to explore his new transgender identity as a single person, then it may be too late to save your marriage. Similarly, if you can’t, or don’t want to, let go of the pain and problems in your relationship and try again, it may be too late to save your marriage.

      I encourage you to go to a therapist on your own and work through what YOU want. Do you want to stay married to a man who may be transgender? You say you don’t think you can forgive your husband. But, unless you do, your marriage is doomed. So the first thing you have to do is to decide what you really want in your marriage, and how much time and effort you are willing to put in to try to make it happen.

      If both you and your husband are willing to work on your marriage, then there may be hope. If either of you are not, though, then you are going to be facing divorce, either now or in the future. If that is true for you, then the best thing that you can do, for yourself and your kids, is to prepare yourself for your divorce and try to find a way to do it that causes the least damage and destruction to you and to your family.

      Will your divorce affect your kids? Of course it will. But so will staying in a bad marriage. Which one will be better? That is what you have to decide.


  • So my situation is not a good one. My wife left me recently and says that she is done with our relationship period and can’t put herself through it anymore. We were together for 6 years and married for 3 of them. I was unfaithful at times all through social media and never did anything with anyone in person. I have been going to therapy and finally understand why I was doing this and how to fix myself and get myself in a better place. Despite me having a better understanding and new controls in place to prevent it from happening again she still doesn’t want to even listen to me. I asked her if she would be willing to go with me to therapy and she said that she is beyond that and that I should continue to go. We had just bought a house together and were trying to have kids, although there had been fertility issues and she also had lost her job. She says she still loves me but is not sure how much or what type of love it is at this time. I guess my question is what do you do when she is still angry and mad and livid as she says. Do I just go ahead and do the divorce thing or give it more time and just break off contact for awhile and see what happens? I’m still trying to understand why it is so easy for society to just throw away a marriage so fast.

    • Matthew,

      Oh my! I think it is awesome that you don’t want to throw away your marriage so fast! But, you also don’t want to hang onto something that is dead simply because you don’t like the idea of giving it up.

      If your wife has left you and really is done with your relationship, then there may not be much that you can do. It is wonderful that you are in a better place than you were, and that you now believe you have controls in place to prevent yourself from being unfaithful. That will serve you well in life, no matter what happens in this marriage. But it takes two people to make a marriage.

      Here is the truth that you probably don’t want to hear(read): The only person you can control is yourself. IF your wife has passed the point of no return in your marriage (and that happens) and she has decided that she wants a divorce, then nothing you can do or say will put your marriage back together. I’m sorry.

      The best thing you can do is a good, solid reality check. Is your wife determined to divorce you? If so, then it may be time for you to let go, even if you would have preferred to stay married. If you think giving your wife more time will be helpful, then go ahead and give her more time. But ask yourself: “What is more time going to do?” If your wife needs more time to make a decision, or if you can use the time to go to couples therapy and try to heal your marriage, great. Then time might make a difference. But otherwise, is taking more time just delaying the inevitable?

      Try to honestly answer these questions for yourself. That should help you know what is right for you to do.


  • I am in hell. My husband bought a house with me, and as soon as we moved, started acting depressed and angry all of the time. He keeps saying he is sick of me, doesn’t love me, hates who I am, and needs it to end.. I made him go to marriage counseling, he did not take it seriously or work on changing, he kept calling me names and being mean saying he wants me out of his life. I have asked him if he is on drugs, if there is someone else, what happened to suddenly make him act this way when we are happy?!. And who buys a house if they know they are going to leave their wife soon?! I really don’t know what is going on with him but I am tired of being verbally abused and told I am the problem when I don’t do anything but love him. I feel like he has just lost his mind and it is not even me, I don’t know what to do. He said to leave him alone and that he needs time and doesn’t want me to talk to him so I am.

    • Chrissy,

      I am so sorry this happened to you. As strange as it may sound, I have represented several people who just bought a house with their spouse and then everything fell apart. I have no idea why that happens, and it doesn’t make sense to me either, but, trust me, it happens! So, you are not alone.

      The more distressing part of what you said is how your husband is acting and treating you. You didn’t say how long this has been going on, but it sounds like it has been awhile. What is also odd is that you said that you were happy before you bought the house so I am assuming that he treated you well before, and suddenly he has changed.

      Here is what I know: human behavior is consistent. So if your husband used to treat you well, but suddenly treats you badly, something is up. I have no idea what it is, but you will figure it out if you pay attention and give it a little time. Also, I came across a video from a woman whose husband started using drugs and she couldn’t figure out what was going on for awhile. Here is the link: (If the link doesn’t work, just go to YouTube and search the word Divorce and look for the video by CandidMommy.)I’m not saying your husband is doing drugs, but there may be something in the video that helps you figure things out.

      The other thing you might want to do is get yourself into therapy alone. You can’t force your husband to take marriage counseling seriously, and going alone is pretty pointless, but a good individual therapist may help you explore your own feelings about the situation so you can decide how you want to be treated and what you want to do in this situation. If you can get to the root of the problem with your husband, you may be able to do something about it. Just remember: you can’t force your husband to change, but that doesn’t mean you have to accept being treated badly yourself for the rest of your life.

      I wish you the best.


  • My wife of 14 yrs. and I have had a reasonably good marriage (some downs, many ups). She had an awful childhood, a father who cheated/abandoned/abused and a mother with mental health/alcoholism issues. Throughout our marriage I’ve been devoted to her and trustworthy, I was fortunate enough not to have been born with a wandering eye or heart. She used to say that’s why she picked me. Despite this I’ve had to reassure her over the years about women I work with etc. which I was always happy to do, because I attributed these concerns to her father’s behavior.
    My weakness as a husband is lifelong anxiety – which has caused many of the “downs” in our marriage. 5 years ago with an interest toward helping my marriage and myself I began taking medication which along with counselling, education, and soul-searching effectively resolved the problem. Great until a few months ago I began to develop some mild palpitation issues and decided to stop the medication. My anxiety has been fine too.
    The problem is that I didn’t share this decision with my wife. I knew it was wrong not to tell her, but I didn’t because I was afraid she’d recall the “downs” my anxiety had caused. And I’d furthermore trigger her childhood hurts.
    Of course this back-fired. A week ago she confronted me about the medication and I admitted what I’d done after stupidly skirting the issue for about 15 minutes.
    In the week since she has removed her wedding rings, and told me that she’s only staying with me, for now, for the sake of our 2 kids. I told her I was going to a counselor to discuss this and she didn’t react at all. Now she’s back to business as usual, as if the marriage is over and we have to put on the show for our kids.
    I am so ashamed for making such a dumb mistake. I just wonder, is there any hope that her anger will resolve and she’ll want to continue her marriage with me? Perhaps a week is too short a time to assess. It’s just her reaction has been so drastic, I fear something has turned and will never go back. Given her family history of abuse and mistrust, my anxieties, and now this betrayal, it just seems everything is lost between us.

    • Jeff,

      I’m sorry. I don’t understand. You stopped taking your medication because you were having heart palpitations and when your wife found out she decided your marriage is over? I feel like I’m missing something. You said your anxiety is fine. So, what is the problem? Why is your wife so upset?

      I don’t understand why anyone would ever want a divorce simply because their spouse went off medication that was making him sick. So I’m thinking there must be something more going on here. Either she is attaching way more significance to your stopping your medication without telling her (which may or may not have been the best idea in hindsight — who knows?) or maybe your anxiety is acting up again and you don’t realize it? Honestly, I don’t know. But something doesn’t seem right.

      I honestly can’t tell what is really going on here, but I would suggest you try to get to a good marriage therapist asap. Whatever is happening is not good, and the sooner you can get to the bottom of it, the better your chances for repairing your relationship. I suspect that whatever is happening is truly much deeper than the fact that you stopped taking your medication. Will your wife turn around? I don’t know. But, unless you get help, I’m not sure that you will know either.

      I wish I had better news. But, maybe you can turn this around. I just don’t know at this point.

      Good luck, and please let me know what happens.


      • Thank you for your advice, Karen. I do suspect there’s more going on with me and I need to figure it out. So while I don’t know everything I do know this problem in on me.

        Thank you again!

  • My husband and I have been together for 4 years married 3. We have two kids 4&1. Ever since I have my son I went into a pretty bad depression. I was home alone with two kids and he was either at work or working on a workshop he was building. It has been every day since last year. We see him maybe an hour at night right before the kids go to sleep.

    I couldn’t tell you the last time he kissed me or showed me any sort of affection and the last time he told me I was beautiful was 4 years ago after he cheated on me with my daughters god mother (I was 6 months pregnant at the time)

    I have been scared to talk to him to tell him all that is bothering me because he has such bad anger issues. He will break things and yell. Well the other night I finally got the courage. I told him we needed to talk once our kids went to bed, and what does he do. Starts being not so nice in front of the kids grilling me to talk. I had had enough. I told him what was bothering me and asked him if he still loved him. Instead of saying “of course I love you” he over reacted tearing off his shirt and walking away. I got scared that it was about to get worse I grabbed my kids and a couple bags just in case. They had seen him before blow up and break things and I wasn’t going to let it happen again.

    He told me if I left with the kids to never come back. So I stayed and told him again my concerns how I MYSELF felt. I didn’t try to cut him down at all. All I said was we felt like an option to the workshop that was his priority. Which is true. My kids do not know their father. He doesn’t play with them. He doesn’t go on family trips or outside. I am their constant and I love them so much but it’s wearing me down. I told him I needed him and his time.

    Of course he had to cut me down every chance he got. Saying how he works up there to make money for the family so I can buy whatever I want. Which isn’t true. He checks receipts whenever I get home from the store and I have to ask him to buy anything. I’m not allowed to get a job because who will watch the kids. I can’t go out with friends or leave the house without asking him first. I have to wake up in the mornings to wake him up for work. If I accidentally over sleep he ridicules me saying I’m unreliable and to go to bed earlier. He knows our son still wakes up in the am because he is teething so I’ve started just not going to sleep until 6am and waking up at 8am with the kids.

    Is it wrong for me to be done and want a divorce? I just feel like I’m drowning and he doesn’t even care. I’ve made myself sick over this. Now only weighing 100lbs, hardly eating or sleeping. I just feel like it is toxic and if I stay any longer it’s only going to kill me.

    Thank you for listening,

    • Elisha,

      I don’t know how to tell you this, and I don’t mean to shock you, but it sounds to me like you are in an abusive relationship. My guess is that you already know that deep down in your heart. While you didn’t say whether there was any physical violence happening, I would not be at all surprised if there was.

      It is not wrong for you to want a divorce. I am only concerned about how you go about getting one so that you don’t endanger yourself or your kids.

      I’m not sure where you are living, but I would suggest you seek out help immediately from whatever local domestic violence organization you can find. You are going to have to plan your exit from this relationship more carefully than someone who is not in your situation. Even if there is no physical abuse going on, what you have described is definitely emotional and financial abuse. (At least, that is what it seems like to me.) If you call a domestic violence hotline they may be able to turn you on to local resources you can use to help you get through this. Also, if you can find a way to start working with a therapist, I’m sure that would help you a lot too.

      The bottom line is this: you need help, and you need it now. IF you have family you can lean on, lean on them. Don’t be afraid to tell them the truth about what is going on in your life. If they love you, they will stand with you. If you have friends you can talk to confidentially, do it. But, right now you are going downhill. You have to turn things around before you crash.

      You may not feel like you are “right” to leave your husband, but what kind of a life do you and your kids have right now? And, if you crash and burn, what is going to happen to your kids?

      Seriously, Elisha, please get help. Do it for your kids. Do it for you.



  • I wish I could give a shirt version of what has happened in my marriage. It would have been 10 years come February. From my husband beating cancer when we were engaged to our son being a miracle via IVF. We have walked through so much to end up here.

    It all literally started right before I had our son. We transferred places due to my husbands job and he ended up with a female partner. Things I thought were ok. Besides having a newborn and what comes along with that, I truly thought we were happy. After about a year my husband decided to fake another transfer back to our home state. Our house sold extremely fast and so my son and I were left to move while my husband finished his work commitment out. He told me he was planning a trip back to our first stop to visit some friends over his birthday weekend even though I wanted so badly to fly him to our new home.

    My life came crashing down. My husband never went to visit our old friends, he went to Vegas with his partner “the other woman”. I figured out his lie, immediately called him and that was it. I told him eh better fly home within the next few hours or it was over. He did. However, I did not see him bc I was mad and hurt. I told him to go back finish his work commitment and don’t ever speak to her again.

    He finished his work commitment and came home. We would go to counselors one time and he would never go back. I tried desperately everything to save our marriage. He took an offer to leave the country for 5 months right after this happened because in his words why the hell would he even want to be around me when I’m just so angry. Again, I begged him to go with me and get help. I knew I wasn’t okay and I knew we needed help. I tried to stuff my feelings and work on me. I got nothing in return.

    When he finally returned and still nothing had been even figured out about this Vegas stint he was an alcoholic. He had a major drinking problem. I was crushed. He always told me how I was crazy, how is made something out of nothing, how it’s not what I think, how nothing happened in Vegas…he would tell me to calm down, you’re making something out of nothing. I felt as though I was going crazy.

    One night some pictures came through his phone of a woman half naked. I immediately woke him and he said he had no idea who she was. I found out he was on a cheating website and dating website. I found a note in his email about how I took the alpha from him and made him a beta. It talked about how he was scared of getting divorce raped. It said how he had an unhealthy relationship with alcohol and how he met a girl and got to let his inner alpha come out and it felt really good.

    His drinking never really got better and fast forward to September of this year (all this transporting over the last few years) every time he would go out he would come home hours later than he said he would and drive home drunk. I would lose it every time but would always let him try again. All I’ve ever wanted is him to be happy down to the fact this past July flying to germany for him to get a 6k tattoo.

    The night of September 13 he went out yet again. I knew what was to come so we had been fighting all day. We’ll it happened again. He came home hours late and drove drunk. We got into a scuffle and I needed up having to call the cops on him after he threatened to call and amber alert on ours son amongst many other things. Needless to say he works in law enforcement. He moved out. Got an apartment and now states he is happier.

    His enabling parents gave them their almost brand new car and haven’t spoken to me since, even though they know his history. He is now using our almost 4 year Old against me. For some reason though he did finally say today the word divorce….he has yet to do it? I just don’t get it? I don’t understand what he is waiting for?

    My son informed me of a woman who came over and watched a movie with daddy while he and this ladies daughter played in the back room. He as usual denies he has a girlfriend. Which I just don’t understand?

    I have tried desperately to have him go to counseling with me, even this week. He won’t go. He went one time and that’s all.

    He’s telling our son things…like if you don’t keep these secrets from your mommy you will have a timeout. He’s letting our son play halo which is rated m for mature, He told our son that I make him tired and that’s why he needs to sleep late. Our son tells people mommy and daddy are fighting over something called beer, when I am a daddy I am going to drink beer too.

    I don’t even know why I’m writing this. It’s all so sad. More than anything I ache for my son who is being told so many things and coming home more confused. I want to protect him but idk how. He has him a couple times a month when I work nights as agreed but we don’t have anything legally done. I want to leave, he will fade out as a father, there is no way. I want out, I want to get closer to my family.

    Anything? Maybe even words of comfort or to just go file, or to keep praying for his heart to change! What do I do?

    He stopped paying some bills. I was forced to go back to work when all this went down. I have been home raising our son for the last 3 years. I don’t understand legally why he’s waiting if he’s so happy and has a girlfriend. What is benefiting him to stay with me? The fact I have the police report ? I think he’s a narcissist??

    Sorry for all this…thank you!

    • Candice,

      I read what you wrote and my heart aches for you. I can hear your pain coming right through your words. I want you to know, I’m going to be a little bit hard on you, here. But it is only because I care, and because I want the best for you. You seem to be in a lot of pain, and very unhappy. Yet, in all of what you wrote, there was something very important missing — YOU, and what YOU want!

      You talked a lot about your husband moving out, and driving drunk, and having an affair. You said you fight a lot. You have tried to go to counseling with him, but he won’t go. But, in all of that, you didn’t talk too much about yourself. I can’t help but wonder: Is this the kind of marriage you want?

      It seems like you have allowed your husband to treat you badly many times, in a number of different ways. Why? (Please understand, I am not condoning his behavior in any way, nor am I trying to make you feel bad. I’m just wondering what is really going on.) You also said your husband has threatened to divorce you, but has done nothing yet. Why haven’t you done something? Please understand, I am not being judgmental here. I am simply trying to understand what is truly happening here.

      If you are hoping to change your husband — forget about it! The only person you can change or control is yourself. You asked “What is benefiting him to stay with me?” I would ask you, What is benefiting you in staying with him? Or, is it that you are afraid to leave?

      I think there is something in the dynamic of your relationship that is much deeper than what you have written here. Have you considered going to a counselor yourself and figuring out what is going on? You may not be able to get your husband into counseling, but there is nothing stopping you from going yourself. I actually think it could be a great idea.

      Whatever you do, take heart. You are not alone. But I really recommend that you get help in dealing with everything that is going on in your life. Hopefully, it will get better soon.



      • I am in counseling right now. It’s all really fresh and painful. I struggle daily, waiting for my door to be knocked on and be served.

        I have not filed because, for one I am still in love with him ( as odd as that sounds) and second I have fought so hard for this marriage to work that I feel if he wants out so badly and I am such a horrible person then he needs to shoulder that decision. All I’ve ever asked from him is to go get help with me and be honest ( he lies and lies and lies).

        I know it sounds odd and probably doesn’t make sense to many but I just don’t want to shoulder that burden kf filing when I’ve been the one who has fought so desperately for this to work. Also, I still remember the man he was. I’m struggling to let go of that even though he’s told me, this is who I am, I am happier now, go find someone I’m not, you’re better off without me, I can’t change….

        I mean he has a girlfriend for goodness sake! What am I doing?

        The mental anguish and vindictive attitude he has for me because of the police report and me ruining him professionally is almost scary. Him using our own son to toeture me is downright disgusting.

        I carry a lot of blame. Maybe if I had been a better wife, more attentive, less angry after the Vegas stunt? Maybe If I hadn’t called the cops on him that night? (I called bc he wouldn’t let me ,leave then when I did leave he text and said he was calling an amber alert and calling security at the airport so I couldn’t get out of here)…. I don’t know how to not blame me. He says this is all my fault. He says I didn’t want to leave but you threatened to call the cops if I was at the house, and now I’m happier so thank you!

        He is narcissistic and believes he really wasn’t drunk that night and that this is all my fault. Even with proof of what he’s done, written proof from him that he cheated, and has an unhealthy relationship with alcohol….it’s all because of me. He’s told me I’m crazy when I assume something is going on (most times I am right and find out later) tells me I need medication…..and so on

        My heart is completely broken. He owns nothing. I shoulder it all.

        • Oh Candice! I am so sorry!

          Please don’t worry what anyone else will think. This is your life and you have to do what is best for you. I’m glad you are in counseling. I know that going through counseling is rough. You are dredging up a lot of ugly, painful feelings. But you will feel so much better once you deal with what you are going through.

          You will get through this. Hang in there! It will get better.



  • My husband moved out last weekend, deciding to stay with a friend because he wanted space. He had been saying he had wanted a divorce, that he didn’t love me anymore, and I suggested a trial separation if there was any doubt in his mind. To me, he doesn’t act like a man who doesn’t love me anymore — he acts like a man who is suffering from depression and has a lot of outside stress in his life.

    In our marriage, we have been comfortable, but there hasn’t been any fighting between us. To me, everything was going okay up until last week. I have been pushing for him to go to counseling with me, to see if we could work out our issues (mostly communication and our relationship structure), and last night he agreed to go but says he’s going to end our marriage.

    To me, he keeps going back in forth between knowing what he wants (our marriage to end) to having to think about it. I don’t know if I’m reading into things too much or not. I’m not sure if I’m holding out hope foolishly or if I should continue being patient and see where counseling gets us. I am fully committed to seeing if our relationship can be worked on, but I don’t want to stay in a relationship where my husband isn’t 100% there or in love with me.

    A relationship is work, but it’s worth it, but I can’t work on it alone.

    Thank you,

    • Danielle,

      I am so sorry to hear about your troubles! It is really difficult to figure out what someone else (your husband) really wants in this kind of situation — whether, as you say, he is just suffering from depression, or whether there is more at play here.

      It is actually not that surprising, though, that your husband is going back and forth. Deciding to divorce is a huge life decision, and it is very common to have mixed feelings. But, that having been said, the question remains: What do YOU want? Relationships are work, as you said. But, at some point, if you are the only one working on it, you burn out. Then you are just done.

      I don’t know whether your husband is willing to work on your marriage too. The fact that you are not fighting is good, but it can also mean that both of you have simply chosen not to address your issues. If you want to save your marriage, you are going to have to do that. Will he do it with you? Will he do the work it will take to save your marriage? If so, you still have a shot. If not, maybe not.

      Should you continue to be patient and see where counseling gets you? Only you can answer that question. But, remember, once you start down the road of divorce, it is very difficult (often impossible) to turn back. What will it hurt to continue to work on your marriage and give yourself the time you need to do so? At some point, the answer to your question (should I continue being patient) will be clear. Either you will know that you are done and your marriage is beyond saving, or you will see that things are getting better and know that you should stay. If you do go through counseling, even if you do decide to divorce, you will be more at peace with your decision because you will know that you did everything possible to try to make your relationship work.



  • Hello.

    I’ve been married for 3 years but been with her for almost 10. She’s always been the possesive kind and always made me feel like I couldn’t have friends, much less if they were females. We’ve had arguments for the smallest things and it was like she was looking for an excusse to ague with me.
    I’ve done everything for her, I’d cook, clean for her. Would go buy food if she wanted take out. Buy her expensie things putting myself in debt for her. She’d express and vent her fustation on me, but if i wanted to say the way i was feeling it was received with condecendence or a “wow! I can’t believe you said that” I lived in fear of when the next mood swing will come and I’d have to take it.
    Recently I’ve had enough. We got intoanagument where she belives that a coworker flirted with me and started to yell at me in the car, called me a bitch, someone that was so happy to receive any kind of attention from a female, that I was actually waiting for that moment and then threatened to punch. I asked not to raise her voice at me but she ignored it like she has done in the past. I couldn’t help it anymore and I yelled back at her. When we got home I was willing to work it out like I’ve done before, but she was still loud and obsessed on wanting to know what happened with the coworker. I told her I couldn’t keep doing this and left the house and haven’t been back since (3 days) I’m staing at a hotel and I’ve contacted a family attorney but now that she knows i’ve done that she has been crying histerically to my mother and the coworker that she acussed to flirt with me (which she didn’t) and has been blowing up my phone and email. I sent her an email telling her that I couldn’t live like that any more, my heart and mind can’t take it any other day. I can’t go back home and see her because I know, I know i will be suckered back into it, I have so much empathy and I fall for her words. I know it sounds like if a punk that can’t man up but is beacuse i will fall back into a relationship that has drained me of my life and the love that I once had is gone.
    I feel so terrible, but I want to be happy again.

    • Mike,

      No you don’t sound like a punk who can’t man up! You sound like a man who is in a very toxic relationship yet still loves his wife. At this point, you need to also start to love yourself.

      I understand your concern that you will get sucked right back into the relationship. I have been in bad relationships myself and gotten sucked back in even though I promised myself a thousand times that I wouldn’t. Sometimes, it is just too hard.

      Right now, you need to do what is best for you. Don’t be afraid to lean on your friends and family. Get into therapy/counseling. There is no shame in that. It can also help you A LOT! It will help you deal with what you are going through and work through your emotions so you can think clearly again.

      You didn’t mention whether you have children. If you do, you will have to see your wife again because of the kids. If not, then stay away until you are stronger. If you can talk rationally to your wife about how you feel and tell her that you want a divorce, that’s great. But, my guess is that, right now, she is not going to want to hear that. IF you stand firm, she will do everything she can to get you back. If you do go back (and it is up to you) just know that in a very short time, you will be right back in teh same situation. Unless she gets therapy, and works really hard on herself, she is not going to change. It is up to you to decide whether you can live that kind of life any more.

      This is not going to be an easy time for you. But, I suspect that when this is behind you, you are going to feel a lot better.

      Hang in there!


  • My husband is from India originally. I have started telling him I want a divorce, because I am tired of our two young children witnessing our troubles. He is in complete denial and thinks I will change my mind.. He is also a control freak, backing me into a corner literally and figuratively, and we are often (myself especially) verbally abusive towards each other. He absolutely drives me up the wall, and he won’t let me breathe, and he is too insecure to give me a temporary separation, and he lies to me, and he doesn’t keep his agreements. I see no way to reconcile with someone I can’t trust to respect me and be honest with me.

    We have a two-year-old, a four-year-old, and a mother with terminal cancer that I take care of. And my health is not the greatest and I have a minor anxiety disorder. I lean on my husband to help me with every day things, like bathing the kids. But he makes me miserable, he is never satisfied. with anything. I don’t know how to keep going, he takes me so low, and I was already low enough. We are in Florida, but are considering moving to Illinois (metro Chi). I am not emotionally or physically ready to actually begin the divorce process, but I want to have a plan in place for where we are best strategically for divorcing, in terms of child custody. I am hoping he and I can share custody, and that he will support me until I am able to get back into the work force. He works from home; he has good income. He needs to finally accept that this is really happening, and I feel like it might take some time and preparation. Any ideas where in the USA is the best place to divorce a control fream you have children with?

    • Natasha,

      I hate to tell you this, but there is nowhere in the USA that is best to divorce a control freak. If someone is truly a control freak, divorcing them is going to be a nightmare no matter where you are! Here is what you need to know though, the divorce law in Illinois is about to change dramatically as of January 1, 2016. The whole concept of “custody” will be abolished. In its place, the law has incorporated the idea of “parental responsibilities,” which include decision making in 4 major areas of your children’s lives, plus parenting time. Without knowing a LOT more about you, I can’t tell you if this change would work in your favor or not. I strongly recommend that you consult with a lawyer in Florida now and see what your options are there. You should also consult (at least over the phone) with an Illinois lawyer too. Then you can compare your options. (Know that you may have to pay for these consultations. Even still, it will be worth it to find out your options.)

      The truth, though, is that there are a lot of factors you need to consider before deciding whether to divorce. If you are, as you say, not ready to divorce (either financially, emotionally or both), then you may end up moving and getting divorced later no matter what the law in any state says. But, once you get divorced in a particular state, that will likely be the state that has jurisdiction over your children. You and your spouse can agree that one of you can move to a different state with the kids after your divorce, but if you don’t agree things can become really complicated. So, you have to think about where you want to live for at least the next 16 years, until your children are over 18.

      I know this may not be what you wanted to hear, but, whether you are ready to get divorced or not, you need to consult with lawyers in both states, and figure out your options now, while you still have options. Once you move, you will be stuck dealing with the law in the state you are living in.



  • Hi Karen,

    Thank you for the honest and informative article. I found it interesting & wanted to share my story. I apologize in advance if it’s long winded, but I feel there is a lot to tell. I don’t know if it will help me or someone else, but I feel I need to get it out, so to speak.

    I am not married, but have been in a relationship for 5 years. I am 39 and he is 42. I have 3 children. My daughter is now moved out of our house and my sons are 16 and 12. I have full custody of them and their dad lives across the country. He has a 15 year old daughter from a previous marriage. We share custody with his ex. He also has a daughter who is married with children. Over the years, I have become very close with his family as most of mine lives across the country. From the very beginning, I have heard from them, “I’ve never seen him so happy. You bring out the best in him. He’s so much more relaxed since you’ve been together.” Sure, we’ve had our problems, but up until recently, I didn’t realize they were so bad in his eyes.

    My boys were with my ex for a while. He was very controlling and manipulative toward me and I made the mistake of letting him convince me the boys were better off living primarily with him. (Big mistake, but that’s another story!) About a year and a half ago, they came to live with us full time and my ex took off across the country for good. As you can imagine, it was a huge change for our relationship, and the boys had a lot of emotions to work through. They went through a period of being disrespectful toward me (though never to my boyfriend) and it was a difficult adjustment all the way around. But I got them into counseling, and the changes have been amazing. About 3 months ago, my boyfriend and I had a fight, and he told me he wasn’t in love with me anymore. What it boiled down to is differences in parenting styles. I cried and begged him to give the counseling time to work, and he said that day that we’d work it out. The problem was that the very same night, he was acting affectionate toward me as if nothing was wrong, and we sort of pushed it under the rug. Nothing really ever got discussed. He would tell me things he saw that he thought I should change after that, but we never came together to truly discuss them. It has bothered me, but I figured since things were going ok on the surface, it wasn’t as big of a deal to him as it apparently was. We are both non confrontational people. I believe in my heart that it’s been our biggest mistake.

    Fast forward to 9 days ago. We had an argument over a stupid mistake I made (not really important in the whole scheme of things). He looked at me and said, “I’m done. I can’t do this anymore. I still care about you, but I don’t love you anymore.” I didn’t cry. I didn’t beg. I was more in shock than anything. I told him that over the last few months I’ve realized that our problems stem from not truly communicating properly. He told me that he doesn’t think it will make a difference anymore and he’s not willing to talk. Period. I was in shock. I mean the day before we were all cuddly and affectionate as we’ve always been.

    We bought a house together a year ago, but it’s in his name. He told me we’d get through the holidays for the kids, and he’ll help me get out and get a place of my own. He’s not just kicking me out on the street because he does care about me, he just doesn’t love me anymore. He says he wants to end things before he ends up hating me and still wants to be friends.

    So, here we are still living in the same house. We still sleep in the same bed, naked as usual. We go to work, come home, kids do their chores, we fix dinner, and sit next to each other on the couch like we always have. We’re still spending Christmas with his family (whom he hasn’t told about this yet). The only difference is that normally we would be touching and cuddling, and now we’re not. I have not stopped cuddling up to him in bed or giving him goodnight kisses. Although he isn’t very responsive, he does not push me away. I feel like it might be a good sign, but also don’t want to hold onto false hope. We have had sex once, 3 days after the “breakup” and made out like teenagers (which we haven’t done in a couple years to that degree). We cuddled mutually that night, but not since. We normally touch and cuddle on the couch or out in public, but that has stopped aside from the other night at my father’s Christmas gathering, when he inadvertently put his hand on my back like he normally would. When I reacted, he moved back quickly. Again, I took this as a good sign. He was doing what felt normal and comfortable in spite of everything. That was the day after we had sex.

    I have taken responsibility for my actions, as I know that a relationship is a two way street. He said he would not go to counseling because he thinks counseling in general is pointless, but I have already started to go myself. I’ve realized that I’ve been depressed over the last year and my goal is to get ME back, the woman who he fell in love with, regardless of the outcome of our relationship. I’m also going to church again, which I’ve missed for a very long time. He won’t go, but that’s ok with me. I’m doing that for me, not him or us.

    The thing he says is the biggest problem in our relationship in his eyes is that I never stick with anything. I hold down a job which I love, but it’s smaller things that have bothered him. He gave examples like joining gyms and not cancelling membership right away when I stop going, diets, etc. I am not extremely overweight, but we’ve both gained a few pounds. He says this has never bothered him, but I want to change it for me. So my goal now is to continue counseling, and work on the issues I see within myself. I do see where he’s coming from with the lack of sticking with things (small things or not, it’s true), and I understand where he is coming from with our parenting differences. I still feel like we can come together on these things once we can open up a line of communication again, but I don’t want to push him to talk when he’s not ready. Yet I also don’t want to give up all intimacy, which is why I am still being affectionate in the bedroom, even if it’s not the same as normal.

    I feel like he’s going through some sort of emotional crisis on his own that he won’t open up to me about, because he said that after he separated from his ex 10 years ago, all he wanted was to be a good dad and spend time with his girls. He was in a couple short term relationships until he met me and we just clicked and became friends so easily, but he never focused on his girls like he wanted to. That I know is not my fault. We fell hard not too long after. I fully understand where he’s coming from, but I feel like we can do this together for the long haul if we can just communicate.

    I don’t know if I’m doing things right or wrong. I just know that begging and pleading will only push him away further. I’m holding on to the intimacy in the bedroom because I feel like if I let that go too, it will make it that much easier for him to “forget” what we used to have and what I know in my heart we still can have. Am I a mess inside? Sort of. My heart is breaking, but I’m not giving up hope. I hope and pray that he will see me sticking with this for ME first and foremost, and realize that in making my own internal changes, there can be an US again. I mean less than 2 weeks ago everything seemed fine on the surface. I know you can’t just flip a switch and turn your love off. Do you think I’m handling things properly? I’m trying, I really am. For me, for him, for us, for our kids. Any advice or insight would be great!

    • Heather,

      Thank you for sharing your story. It shows so well that what all of us are really striving for is a loving and fulfilling relationship — whether that relationship is also a marriage or not. But I wonder (and this is a question just for you to ask yourself. It is not one that you have to answer on this blog, or to me, or to anyone else.) Why didn’t you and your boyfriend ever get married? You have a house and have shared parenting etc etc. Why not get married? There could be a million reasons for not getting married, and I am not implying that being married is necessarily “better” than not getting married. But, what I do know is that marriage requires a level of commitment that is usually greater than any other kind of relationship. So, perhaps by asking yourself why you never married, you will start to find the answers to the problems you are having now. (Just a thought.)

      It sounds like you are focusing on a lot of the right things right now. If your boyfriend won’t go to counseling with you because he says it is pointless (which, by the way, is a cop out) then your only choice is to go yourself and work on your own issues. You are doing that and it sounds like it is helping. Your boyfriend also doesn’t want to talk with you about the problems in your relationship. I agree with you that the fact that neither one of you has been willing to talk about your issues in the past has greatly contributed to where you are now. The question is, what do you do now to put things to rights?

      I don’t know what the exact issues in your relationship are. You said your boyfriend says you don’t follow through on things. Maybe that’s true. I don’t know. But I suspect that the real issues between you go much deeper than that.

      I really believe that working with a relationship counselor or coach could help you both. You have to get to the bottom of what is really wrong with your relationship. If your boyfriend won’t work on the relationship with you right now, you can still keep working on your own issues and on yourself. That, in and of itself, will change your relationship. When YOU start being and acting differently, your relationship will change too. Maybe that will be the start of a bigger change. But, ultimately, your boyfriend will have to step up and work on himself and you both will have to work on the relationship. Unless both of you are willing to commit to making it work, it probably won’t work — at least not at the level that will be satisfying to you. But you don’t have to both commit to making it work at exactly the same moment. If you start the ball rolling, he may be able to join you a little later. Of course, if he waits too long, or isn’t interested in working on your relationship ever, that will be a problem. But you are not necessarily at that point yet.

      I can hear how much your heart is breaking and can see that you want your relationship to work. For now I would say to follow your heart. Do what you think is best. Continue to work on yourself. Work on the relationship, but don’t push. You are right. Desperation will only push your boyfriend away. Focus on becoming a better you, and a better mom for your boys. Don’t forget that they, too, will be affected by what you do. Try to keep their best interests front and center.

      Hopefully, this helps. I wish you the best.


    • Heather,

      Thank you for sharing your story. It shows so well that what all of us are really striving for is a loving and fulfilling relationship — whether that relationship is also a marriage or not. But I wonder (and this is a question just for you to ask yourself. It is not one that you have to answer on this blog, or to me, or to anyone else.) Why didn’t you and your boyfriend ever get married? You have a house and have shared parenting etc etc. Why not get married? There could be a million reasons for not getting married, and I am not implying that being married is necessarily “better” than not getting married. But, what I do know is that marriage requires a level of commitment that is usually greater than any other kind of relationship. So, perhaps by asking yourself why you never married, you will start to find the answers to the problems you are having now. (Just a thought.)

      It sounds like you are focusing on a lot of the right things right now. If your boyfriend won’t go to counseling with you because he says it is pointless (which, by the way, is a cop out) then your only choice is to go yourself and work on your own issues. You are doing that and it sounds like it is helping. Your boyfriend also doesn’t want to talk with you about the problems in your relationship. I agree with you that the fact that neither one of you has been willing to talk about your issues in the past has greatly contributed to where you are now. The question is, what do you do now to put things to rights?

      I don’t know what the exact issues in your relationship are. You said your boyfriend says you don’t follow through on things. Maybe that’s true. I don’t know. But I suspect that the real issues between you go much deeper than that.

      I really believe that working with a relationship counselor or coach could help you both. You have to get to the bottom of what is really wrong with your relationship. If your boyfriend won’t work on the relationship with you right now, you can still keep working on your own issues and on yourself. That, in and of itself, will change your relationship. When YOU start being and acting differently, your relationship will change too. Maybe that will be the start of a bigger change. But, ultimately, your boyfriend will have to step up and work on himself and you both will have to work on the relationship. Unless both of you are willing to commit to making it work, it probably won’t work — at least not at the level that will be satisfying to you. But you don’t have to both commit to making it work at exactly the same moment. If you start the ball rolling, he may be able to join you a little later. Of course, if he waits too long, or isn’t interested in working on your relationship ever, that will be a problem. But you are not necessarily at that point yet.

      I can hear how much your heart is breaking and can see that you want your relationship to work. For now I would say to follow your heart. Do what you think is best. Continue to work on yourself. Work on the relationship, but don’t push. You are right. Desperation will only push your boyfriend away. Focus on becoming a better you, and a better mom for your boys. Don’t forget that they, too, will be affected by what you do. Try to keep their best interests front and center.

      Hopefully, this helps. I wish you the best.


  • I feel like my world has fallen apart. I love my husband very much. In April this year he dropped a bombshell that he had got flirtatious with another woman at work and sent her rude emails. She sent messages back too. He said it only went on for about a week and it never went any further. He was very upset but said he had to tell me as he was devastated by what he had done. It took a while and a lot of heated discussions but I decided it wasn’t worth throwing our marriage away for. We have two wonderful young children. However , he really wasn’t right for a while after, very distant, uninterested, slept a lot, cried a bit and then at the end of June said he didn’t feel happy anymore, said he felt empty and thought he didn’t love me anymore and he left. He stayed with his dad for 2 nights and then came home. We spoke a lot and we came to the conclusion that he needed to see a doctor. He did this and said it helped speaking to someone but he did not follow anything up with anything they suggested. We have pretty much plodded on ever since, had a lovely summer break and booked a holiday to celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary next year. However, over the last few weeks he has become distant again and is back to saying the same stuff- he isn’t happy, he doesn’t think he has any feelings for me anymore, he has made me miserable, I deserve to be happy. I don’t think I can take anymore. I think he is suffering from depression but he doesn’t, he just says he isn’t happy. He refuses to talk about things. I really don’t know what to do this time. I tried to help him last time but can’t keep having my heart torn to shreds. He says there is no one else and I believe that as he doesn’t go anywhere apart from work (he no longer works with the woman). I just want our marriage to go back to normal- before this year we were so happy! Wondering now though whether there is anymore I can do and perhaps needs to just accept that he doesn’t want to be with me. Any help would be really appreciated- I feel so low and upset. Thank you. Emily

    • Emily,

      I can see why you feel low and upset! I hear that your husband says he isn’t happy, but my question is: what is he going to do about it? Moping around the house and refusing to talk about his feelings is not going to help him get happy. It is also not helping you, either.

      I suggest you see whether you can get your husband into marriage counseling with you as soon as you can. There is something more going on in your marriage that you haven’t figured out yet (or haven’t said). I don’t know what it is, but no one lives in a great marriage for 9 years, develops a “flirtation” that goes on for a week, and then becomes depressed and distant for no reason. His story just doesn’t make sense. (I also hate to be cynical, but I somehow doubt that this “flirtation” only went on for one week and ended without anything else ever happening. Sorry. But that doesn’t make sense either.) Even if everything he said is 100% true, the fact that he was flirting with anyone tells me that he wasn’t happy in the marriage even before he became distant and uninterested.

      The fact that your husband seemed to get better for awhile, and is now right back to being depressed and unhappy, is another clear sign that something is bothering him. There is more going on here than meets the eye. You can either get to the bottom of it and deal with it, or ignore it and let it eat away at your marriage.

      Hopefully, your husband will go to couples counseling/marriage therapy with you. If not, I suggest you consider trying individual counseling yourself. When your world is falling apart you need someone to help you collect the pieces and try to either put them back together, or help you create a new picture. I think a therapist would be a huge help to you right now.

      In the meantime, you said you have two young children. Remember that you need to focus on them, too. If you are feeling that your husband is distant, they may be too. No matter what else happens, you need to look out for them.

      Good luck to you. I hope this helps.


      • Thank you for your response Karen. I have definitely had it going around again and again in my head that something else happened with this woman. He said at the time that they both came to their senses and realised they could lose everything as she is married with a little bit too. This is what baffles me further though, if he didn’t want to lose what he had, why then say he doesn’t want to be with me months later? I think you are right and there is more to it. I don’t know anything further that’s for sure. I am just so confused. I keep trying to pinpoint what I have done to cause it. I know I haven’t been the best wife over the last couple of years. I suffered an awful bereavement a couple of years ago that seriously affected me. I would put a brave face on and get through a day at work , then come home and sort the children but after all that just wanted to cry in the evenings as I had nothing further to give. This went on for a very long time. Could it have pushed him away? We both also work full time where we are both in very senior roles with a lot of responsibility. Worried I’ve lost sight of my marriage and this is all my fault.. We have two amazing kids who we both adore; I always felt that we had similar parenting techniques and the children are just adored. I can’t imagine a life where we are not a family.

        • Ok, Emily. Here are a couple of things to think about: 1) It’s great that you are examining your role in contributing to the end of your marriage and taking responsibility for your part. Just be careful not to slip from taking responsibility into blaming yourself for the fact that your marriage didn’t work out. Taking responsibility is constructive. It will help you learn and grow. Piling blame on yourself serves no useful purpose, and just makes you feel guilty and bad. 2) The more you ask yourself “why” your husband did something, the more you will drive yourself crazy. You may never know “why” your husband did what he did. The truth is, HE may not even understand why he did things! Asking “why” gets you nowhere. Asking “what can I do now” is much more productive.



          PS Check out this article if you want to read more about divorce guilt:

  • Hi Karen,

    Your advice truly is inspirational. Me and my wife is together for 10 years now and I could not believe what wonderful life I had with her. We got married 3 years ago and have a 2 year old daughter. About a year ago I came out that I have gender dysphoria issues. It is something that I struggled with my whole life but it really did not bother me that much because I was happy with who I am the thoughts just jumper randomly into my head.

    I started battling with depression a lot not because of my dysphoria but because of my career not going the way I want to and she started emotionally abusing me. I never felt good enough for her and she always treated me like a child.

    After coming out that I had dysphoria she did not want to accept it she took my problem that I coped with for years and tried to cure me. Well the only know cure for dysphoria is transitioning to your preferred gender.After months of her fighting with me that this thing must disappear and how weak I am for not winning it and that she feel betrayed. I went to a therapist for help. The first thing I told the therapist is I want to keep my family together. She must make it go away!

    Well she told me she can’t it is just who I am and I must accept it. I went home and this was not the answer she wanted to hear that it can’t be gone with and the only known treatment is to transition to relieve the distress. I did not plan to transition but with the pressure of my business failing and money I was battling with it more than ever. She came to me one day and told me she is bisexual and I can transition because she wants me to be happy and the person inside is still the same person. I asked her to speak to my therapist and she told her how she can be with a woman and supports me.

    I was not really comfortable with it but I decided maybe it is the best for me and our relationship.
    She was very supportive loving and all was well better than ever. I went on hormones and it was like a dream all was just in place she was a sweet heart.

    A month later out of the blue she had a change of heart. She told everyone I am forcing her to be bisexual and she wants out because I want to be a woman. I told her before I started if she is uncomfortable or want me to stop I will. She became very emotional abusive over the last 5 months and she is telling me she wants a divorce and I am not going to change her mind.

    She can’t be with me because she don’t love me anymore she moved on and when she asked me to stay a man I did not want to well I left the hormones and is still a man and I am trying to be a good husband and father but she don’t want to know anything of cooperating.

    We are also sleeping in different beds for 5 months now and I have been seeing a therapist regularly, I am so heart broken because I love this person I am still the same person I was before `i cam out some people even think I am better that before. I don’t know what to do.

    Thank you

    • Ricky,

      I can hear how much you love your wife. You have tried very hard to make your marriage work out. But, at what cost?

      You said that you did not want to transition genders, but you started taking hormones because you thought it was best for your marriage. Then you went off the hormones because your wife changed her mind about what she wanted. The question I have for you is: What do YOU want? If you want a happy marriage, you first have to be happy with yourself. Continually trying to change to be whatever you think your wife wants isn’t fair to you, OR to your wife. Plus, with your wife changing her mind so often, this is a “No Win” situation for you. Every time you change to please her, she changes what she wants. You can’t win.

      I’m thrilled that you had a wonderful marriage for 10 years! But it sounds like the last year or so of your marriage has been anything but wonderful. You can’t go back to the way things were. You can’t live in the past. I don’t know whether divorce is the answer, but I do know that if you want your marriage to work, you are going to need to work on yourself, and find peace with who YOU are, and what YOU want to be. In the meantime, it wouldn’t hurt for you and your wife to get into marriage counseling, too.

      No matter what you end up doing about your gender, the changes you are facing already are pretty huge, and it is perfectly normal for you and your wife to need help adjusting to them, and figuring out which direction to take your relationship. Staying in therapy yourself will probably help a lot, so definitely keep doing that.

      Whatever happens, please get the help you need, and don’t give up. Working through all of these issues will be painful. But, hopefully, you will find much greater peace and happiness once you have done so.



      • Hi Karen thank you for your reply. I am actually seeing a psychiatrist and a psychologist for my problem. She applied for divorce on Tuesday and wants a uncontested divorce this is just her normal way of trying to control everything. I went to my therapist this week that gave me an idea of the real reason my wife is divorcing and according to her it is because she wants to be in control of everything she emotionally abused me over the years to get me to do what she wanted. This builded up and led to depression and I started battling with my gender dysphoria because also because I felt inadequate as a man. I had it under control until I told her that I have the issue and I did not want to transition I was just honest about something bothering me with my wife. She tried then to take charge and rid me of my dysphoria because this was unwelcome in her perfect picture of life. It did not work the only thing is she nullified my coping mechanisms that I used all the years and I started to get desperate between depression emotional abuse and dysphoria that I grabbed for the next best thing to lesten the presure. This was hormones. She first tried to adapt by saying she is fine with it and she is bisexual then I went on hormones with her consent.

        A month later she changed her mind that she is not bisexual and started to get extremely emotional abusive especially in front of family. She wanted to show that she is in control. She pushed me over the edge 3 times of feeling so worthless that I wanted to take my life. I drove my car into a wall trying to comit suicide. I ended up in rehab. After that I was not allowed to sleep in the same bed or anything intimate like hugs was of limits. From there she wanted to divorce me but it never got that far until now she used it as manipulation to control me and scare me. I called her bluff on the weekend. Now she applied for divorce. I just feel that divorce is stil unnecessary I haven’t transitioned I stopped the hormones and tried to save things but to no avail because when I try to speak to her I am rebellious and childish and just want my way according to her to save my marriage. I want to save my marriage becaise it is my marriage and we have a child together and I love her. I told her if she divorce me I am going to transition. The thing is she became selfish and is obsessed with her own mental well-being and selfness. This is her reason for divorce she says she is unhappy and because she is unhappy that she blames me for she gets abusive towards my child.

        I don’t really want to divorce I know I can’t stop her. I don’t know if the abuse will stop if we can stay together. I think she may be bipolar also. She also don’t want to go to couples counseling she sayd the marriage is beyond repair for her.

        • You are definitely going through a lot right now! It sounds like you are on the right track by seeing a psychiatrist and a psychologist. Please, if you ever have thoughts of suicide again, get help! No situation, no matter how painful it may be, is worth taking your life. I urge you to stay in counseling. Continue to seek all the professional help you need. It is so important.

          As for staying together, if your wife won’t work on your marriage and says she is done, you are probably done. As you know, you can’t force your wife to stay married.

          If you are truly headed for divorce, then you need to get yourself ready to get through that and to start focusing on creating a new life for you — whatever that is and whatever it will look like. It is time for you to focus on getting yourself healthy and whole. If you want to know how to start preparing for divorce, you might want to check out this article: New Year’s Endings – How to Prepare for Divorce.

          I wish you the best.


          • Hi Karen my wife filed for divorce two weeks ago and I don’t know how to stop it she says she can’t be with a trans person and can’t get over me being trans. I was not planning on transitioning if I stay with her I would have stayed a man. She just can’t get over it she keeps on telling me things is not going to work out she can’t look at me the same anymore and that she feels betrayed and lied to. I am helpless and hopeless. I desperately want to save my marriage but she says there is nothing left but for me it feels different. I feel if she wanted to we can fix it because being trans did not change who I am I am still the same person.

            She was treating me really badly the last couple of months and I begged her that we can fix things and she just emotionally abused me even further. Now that I left to stay with my mother for a while my dysphoria is drowning me and if I divorce I will probably transition. It is not really what I want but does not feel like a choice without my marriage. My male identity is rooted in my marriage it feels like. I don’t know what to do.

          • I can hear how much you want to save your marriage. The sad truth is that unless both people in the marriage want to save it,the marriage does not have a good chance of working out. You said you feel your wife can fix things if she wanted to. But she has told you she doesn’t want to. Unfortunately, you can not change her. You can not force her to love you, or to stay married to you. When one person files for divorce, the other person in the marriage can make the divorce take longer, and cost more (neither of which are good ideas). But they can not stop the divorce.

            I suggest that you find a good therapist and also a support group to help you through this difficult time. The therapist can probably also help you deal with your dyspohoria and gender identity. At this point, it would be best to focus on yourself and your future.



  • Happy New Year, Karen,

    I have been married for 12.5 years. I met my husband – a now-retired military officer – 14 years ago. He has now-adult children from a prior marriage. I learned a year ago from his daughter that he was a serial cheater in that marriage. 3 years ago, just after he retired from the military, he took a job overseas without discussing it with any of us. He took us to Orlando and announced it in the line at the newly-opened Harry Potter ride. Presumably so we would not be able to discuss his unilateral decision.

    He began to display that old school, “men make the decisions, women are chattel” mentality not long after we married. (He hid it very well when we dated). This shift caused me major upset. I have a professional degree and a well-paying job with the federal government. Very different than his mom or his first wife, neither of whom have ever supported themselves.

    He said he was proud of me, and I thought he wanted a modern woman – perhaps he thought so too- but in practice, he didn’t. Yet, he wanted me to work and let him control the money. He alternated this behavior with love bombing me – cards, flowers, poems. As recently as 3 weeks ago, he told me that in me, he had married the woman of his dreams.

    I believe he cheated on me a decade ago, when he was traveling overseas and I was studying for a professional exam he wanted me to take. However, I have no proof of it. 7 years ago, feeling that I was being used for money, I fell into a midlife crisis and had a brief relationship with a colleague who had similar marital problems. To my astonishment, my husband practically had a breakdown over me and went full bore to get me back. I thought I had been wrong and that we could work this out, but as soon as things seemed better, he fell for a woman who was also enrolled in a prestigious course he was attending. It was very public, but my husband denied that it was physical. When the course ended 6 years ago, my brother – believing my husband’s story, that I was the bad actor – said that he would support him if he wanted a divorce. My husband replied that he didn’t. My brother then asked us both whether we could go forward in the marriage in good faith. We both said yes and I have, but he has not.

    A year after he left for his current job, I learned via anonymous email that he had been having an affair for 2 years with a divorced single mom he met in England towards the end of his military career. When he retired and came home for a few months 3 years ago, she began asking him for money. Everyone else but him sees this as blackmail. He went so far as to open an EBay business to send money to her. As noted, within a few months he left to work in the Middle East and began flying her in to see him periodically.

    Worse yet, the email I got – from a person claiming to be her sister – said that his affair partner was still involved with him only because she thought he was rich and was going to save the finances of their extended family. It added that she made derogatory remarks about him behind his back. When I confronted him with the email, he refused to believe it came from her or her family. However, he said he wanted to reconcile with me.

    A few months into “reconciliation,” we had a fight. He told me that he was still in touch with his mistress because “in case things didn’t work out with us, he wanted to go fix it with her.” As a result of our fight, he reconciled with her, but would not tell me that he had. I then experienced awful gaslighting from him. For example, we went on a trip to Germany and he scheduled events for me so that he could be alone to call her. Last Xmas, he told me he had to work but was meeting my stepdaughter in Rome. It was a cover for seeing this woman in England. My stepdaughter confronted him at the airport and told him to be careful. He told her that the woman would never do anything to hurt him and that she would like her.

    The next time I saw him, this past June, I had him served with divorce papers. He panicked and began love bombing me. He said that he still loved me and that he always trout the light woul go back on between us. I was very upset, but did not back down. I asked him to move his things, but he would not do it.

    I recently learned that in July, he flew this woman and her daughter to see him. Right after she left, he called me and said he did NOT want a divorce. However, he continued cycling. He did not communicate regularly, but “love bombed” me for my birthday in November, then showed up here 3 weeks ago in a romantic mode. We had a lovely couple of days. However, he again claimed he had to work at Xmas, an obvious lie. I found train cards for London in his bathroom and confronted him. He went berserk and began beating on the furniture, screaming that they were from years ago and that he was not having an affair. After that, he said, “I don’t want to get back together. You are too mercurial. I am moving my things.” He added that if he didn’t feel about me as he had when my fling happened 7 years ago, then he could not be with me. He actually moved some books and papers, but left sentimental items in the house.

    I was very sad and he said that perhaps I should come visit him. I thought about it on the last day he was here, then said that I would do a divorce agreement. He was upset and replied, “but that’s not how we left it.” I said I was sorry that things turned out this way. He emailed me to say he was sorry for upsetting me and thanking me for being nice to him. I did not respond. 3 days later he sent me copies of the agreement. I still have not responded, as I concluded that he is an abuser and that no contact is the only way for me to heal. If he wants to divorce, let him do it.

    It is so frustrating, as we seemed to have a great love and took great joy in each other. As recently as 3 weeks ago, we experienced that. He knelt down in church and took communion next to me. But I assume there is no way to bring that back..:

    Thank you for your advice,


    • Anne,

      Okay. I know that you said you seemed to have a great love with your husband, but I think the key words in that sentence are “seemed to have.” i’m sorry, I don’t want to be mean, but the relationship you have described is not one of “great love.” Alternating between serial cheating, lying, and “love-bombing” you is NOT love! … not real love, anyway. Someone who really loves you would never want to hurt you. Someone who really loves you would not lie to you, cheat on you, and do things behind your back.

      I think it’s time for you to get off the merry-go-round. Believe me, I know how hard that can be. When you really love someone and you still have some amazing times together (like when he is “love-bombing” you), I’m sure it is hard to walk away. But it’s time to decide whether you want real love in your life, or you want the relationship that you have. I don’t mean to sound cynical, but if you stay in this marriage, your relationship is not likely to improve. A leopard can not change its spots, and I suspect the same thing is true for your husband. In fact, you already know that he is keeping another woman on the line, just in case your marriage doesn’t work out. Clearly, he has no intention or motivation to change.

      My question for you is: why is his behavior okay with you? Why are you allowing him to treat you so badly? You are an intelligent, educated woman. You also seem very kind and sensitive, perhaps too much so. Your husband’s behavior has to be hurting you! Will leaving him hurt you, too? Absolutely! But, the difference is that, if you leave, you will hurt for awhile, and then hopefully you will heal. If you stay, you will keep getting hurt over and over again.

      At this point, you might want to start working with a therapist. Your marriage has been so “up and down” that you undoubtedly have a lot of things to work through. My guess is also that, over the years, given your husband’s behavior, your self-esteem has taken a real hit. Spend sometime working on YOU and re-connecting with the beautiful person you are. Find the love that is inside of you, instead of looking for it in a man who treats you so badly.

      It’s normal to want love and joy in your life. But only real love will ultimately give you joy. The behavior that only “seems like love” may feel good some times, but it feels horrible other times. The longer you keep settling for what isn’t real, the less “good” even the good times will feel. Eventually, you will end up feeling empty and cheated. Don’t let that happen.



      • Than you, Karen. You are very right, of course. I believe what has happened is called trauma bonding. I was rewarded and then punished. To the point that biological changes took place that turned the relationship into an addiction. And the withdrawal became so painful that I avoided it.

        I have gone to a therapist – she mainly told me that whenever I got strong enough to break away, he would come back with the love bombing. Because I was used to the military absence, I would respond as if he had just come home from military service.

        I also think that he was raised to think women are inferior and that they are desperate for marriage. So if he’s given me the status of being his wife, it is acceptable for him to cheat. Indeed, his first wife reinforced that. Their daughter told me last year that he repeatedly cheated and she was willing to stay with him. He had to divorce her.

        Now, when I found out about this 2 years ago, I said that we should divorce. He did not cooperate and claimed he wanted to reconcile. When I realized that was fake, I prepared divorce papers and had him served as soon as I saw him next. We talked about terms of a settlement agreement. He wrote it on an easel, but packed up the pages and took them without telling me.

        I have needed money from his current job to pay for the home, bills and cars here. No woman in the West, even with a court order or power of attorney, can access a man’s Middle Eastern bank account. So I have until last month maintained contact because our courts can”t make him pay me.

        For my own health, I cut contact last month. I am now paying the price financially, but it may be worth. It.

        • Anne,

          I’m glad you are moving forward and thinking about your own health at this point. You will likely suffer financially, but, hopefully, in the process, you will get yourself and your life back. That is worth more than any amount of money!

          I wish you the best.


  • Karen,

    I have a catch-22. My wife, who claims she wants the divorce (mixed messages, which I won’t get into), states as one of the reasons for her desire is my lack of respect for her feelings and wishes. I want to stay married, and I’m willing to do whatever work I need to do so, on me and the marriage. But is trying to save our marriage an act of not listening to her wishes? Do I have to respect her desire for a divorce in order to demonstrate the respect that she wants in the marriage?


    • Tim,

      You are right. Whether you respect your wife’s desire for a divorce (and get divorced) or you don’t (and she divorces you because you don’t respect her), you end up divorced. So, since you are going to lose either way, why not follow your heart and do what you think is right? If you want to work on yourself and your marriage, then work on yourself and the marriage. When you do, your wife may surprise you and come around. Or not. There are no guarantees in life. But, if you follow what is in your heart, and you do what you know, deep down, is right for you, you can’t go wrong. Your marriage may still end. Or your marriage may end up becoming better and stronger. Either way, you will be able to live with yourself and know you did your best.


    • Tim,

      You are right. Whether you respect your wife’s desire for a divorce (and get divorced) or you don’t (and she divorces you because you don’t respect her), you end up divorced. So, since you are going to lose either way, why not follow your heart and do what you think is right? If you want to work on yourself and your marriage, then work on yourself and the marriage. When you do, your wife may surprise you and come around. Or not. There are no guarantees in life. But, if you follow what is in your heart, and you do what you know, deep down, is right for you, you can’t go wrong. Your marriage may still end. Or your marriage may end up becoming better and stronger. Either way, you will be able to live with yourself and know you did your best.


  • My life has been turned upsidedown by my wife. We’ve been married for 2 years this March. She came home a week before Christmas and told me she wants a seperation. I fear the real reason is because she want to see other people. I did some snooping because it came out of no where all it seems she wants to start a relationship with a coworker. This hurts all the more because when she started work there she imediately got the impression that the men liked to have relatios with the new girls. She told me this would never happen that she loved me and I had nothing to worry about. I feel like crying all the time. I just started to see a counselor this week. the next session cant come fast enough. I am so confused. Somedays she acts nice to me the next she is biting my head off. I am in a constant state of flux. Somedays I love her as I did before and other days I feel we are headed for a divorce. I only know I dont want to wait for her if she is seeing other men. I feel I deserve better than that. But yet I still love her. I want our marriage to work and I will do anything if she would just let me know. So pained am I that I cant eat have the time, sleep is erratic. There are days I just dont know how I can keep going on. I dont know if I should wait for her to want me back or if I should try talking with her. Her one friend she has been talking to the most has been pushing her towards divorcing me. I want to call her out on it but what if that just makes things worse. I am so troubled and confused right now.

    • I feel your pain! Being on such a roller coaster of emotion sucks! The worst part is that you don’t know where you stand, or even what you want, or how you feel. Believe me, I understand.

      What strikes me about what you have said is that your wife seems to have asked for a separation out of the blue. Whether she wants that separation because she wants to see other people, or for some other reason, the bottom line is that she wants a separation. What you need to figure out, is why … and whether there is anything you can do to save your marriage. (Right now you “suspect” she wants to separate so she can see other people, but you don’t know for sure.)

      I suggest that you try to get your wife to go to marriage counseling with you. Obviously, something in your marriage is not working. You might not have known that there were problems in your marriage before, but the fact that your wife wants a separation tells me that the problems were there (at least from her perspective). If you can identify and work on those problems, your marriage may still have a chance at surviving. But the key is, you have to work on solving the problem. (…preferably with professional help. That will give you a better chance at success.) Just waiting for your wife to want you back, however, is not likely to accomplish anything.

      If your wife won’t go to counseling with you, then I suggest you start seeing a therapist yourself to work through your own emotions. That may not save your marriage, but it will help you to grow and to deal with that is happening in your life.

      I know how much you are hurting right now. I can read it in your words. I also know that it must eat at you that you believe that your wife’s friend has been pushing her towards divorce. Unfortunately, that is something you can’t change. You can’t control who your wife hangs out with, and you can’t make her friend stop pushing her into divorce. Ultimately, it will be your wife’s decision what she does and who she listens to. In the meantime, there is nothing I can say to stop your pain. But I will tell you that what you are going through won’t last forever. At some point, you will know where you stand and what you need to do. Until then, try to be patient. You don’t want to give up on your marriage too soon, and regret it later. You also don’t want to hang around and be a doormat either. It takes patience to hang on until the right path for you becomes clear. Trust that it will become clear.



  • Your honest thought please. My husband of four years, together for seven started acting strange for the last year or so. On Christmas night he told me he wanted a divorce. I told him I was not interested in a divorce. He moved out a week after. He comes to house to take our sone to Judo and to watch him while i am work at nights.

    He states that he does not have a connection with me anymore and thatI am controlling and bossy. He claims I did not show enough love to him, but then he claims I show too much attention at the same time. I found condoms and vigara in his truck. We use neither. He does not know that I found those in the truck, so he deny having any when I asked if he was in a relationship already. I never had any reson to doubt his words in our marriage, but now when I see how easily he lies, it make me heated. I know in my gut he is seeing someone else, I also know that I don’t want to know who she/he is.

    He doesn’t want to work on our marriage and every suggestion I have made thus far have been met with negativity and how much “we” cannot work. I love him dearly and would do anything to make it work. However, I feel like I am just spinning my wheels. He still have more than half of his things at our home, but is taking them out in small amounts at a time.

    When I try to talk to him about where we are and what’s going on, he claims I am trying to put him on a guilt trip. It is starting to piss me off. It seems like he just wanted to get out of the house. He is telling his family and friends how he has been unhappy for years and should have left years ago, but I cannot remember him ever saying that to me. We were the average couple who had sex 4-5 times a week. We traveled alot and did things some people only dream of. But I noticed he started to get cold and withdrew from me last fall. I figured whatever it was will pass. I engaged him on the topic of him being detached from the family early December, but her said he was fine. I asked if our marriage was good. He stated it was and that he took his vows seriously, but nothing got better. He started to stay away from home for longer periods and finally the big finish on Christmas night. This is the short to long story. I miss him in so many ways. He is not in any way perfect, but I put up with him over the years because I loved him and I know we all have our kinks. But I guess he could not stand my kinks. I feel lost and depressed most days. I feel like I need to let him go, but when I think of whomever he is sleeping with, Oh boy….I get all kinds of bent out of shape. I know he is using our martial issues as an excuse to get out and start another relationship.

    What do you think? What advise can you give me to help move on together or alone?


    • I can tell how much you are hurting, and I feel for you. While it seems like you really want to work on your marriage, it seems like your husband does not. If he has already moved out of the house and told you he wants a divorce and will not work on the relationship, there is not a lot you can do to change that. As you know, you can’t really control him. And, you certainly can’t change him!

      The best thing you can do right now is to focus on yourself and your son. If you can, get yourself to a good therapist and start working on yourself, and on the issues you have brought up here. It sounds like there have been a lot of issues that have arisen in your marriage over the years, and a lot of things you need to resolve for yourself.

      It would be great if your husband would go with you to marriage counseling. Unfortunately, you can’t force your husband to work on your marriage with you. On the other hand, your husband can’t stop you from working on yourself either! By going to therapy, and taking the time to work on yourself in whatever way appeals to you, you can become your best self and leave your depression behind.

      I also would say that you would be wise to trust your gut. So many times we know the truth deep down, but we pretend we don’t because we don’t want to believe what we already know. Words are not the only truth.

      I know you miss your husband and want him back. But if he is with someone else and does not want to be with you, there is not a lot you can do about that. You could try to change to please him, but that is very short sighted. The only real reason to change is to please you!

      I wish I had happier advice for you. But, right now, the best thing you can do is to pay attention to that little voice inside of yourself. The one you don’t want to listen to. The one who knows the truth. You know what is best for you. You know what is best for your son. Do what you know is best.

      If you do your best, there is nothing more to be done.


  • Me and my husband have been married for 6 years.. when we first got together every thing was perfect.. too perfect I guess because he left me for another woman for about a week and then came back.. he had just gotten out of a divorce with his first wife and immediately we was together.. when he left me for the other woman and I took him back we got married 3 months later. I have brought this woman up on many occasions throughout the entire marriage. And started accusing him of talking to other girls constantly.. I have kept him from talking to female friends from when he was in school and pretty much controlled him in every aspect of the marriage.. not trying to though. It just happened that way.. anyways he told me he wanted a divorce and moved out. He says it’s not just what I’ve done but also because he wants to be alone because he has never experienced being alone because he has always jumped from relationship to relationship and don’t want to have to answer to any female anymore.. I know my issues and willing and doing something to get help for myself but he want give us a chance and refuses any counseling. I want us to stay married but he don’t.. I will keep fighting for my marriage but I don’t think he cares that I am.. he is supporting me til I can get a job and get back on my feet to care for me and my son but that’s it.. is it possible I just give him what he wants and in the meantime fix myself and sorta move on and maybe he will come back.. or is this really over 🙁

    • I think you absolutely have the right idea when you said that you would work on “fixing” yourself. (Although I don’t think you are broken! You just have some issues you want to work on!)

      Here is the truth: you can not force someone to stay married to you. So, if your husband won’t work on the marriage and says he is done, the only thing you can do is work on yourself. When you change, the relationship will change. Whether or not your husband will decide to come back after that is anyone’s guess. But, regardless of whether he comes back or not, working on yourself is always a good idea. If he comes back, great! If not, you will be in a better position to move on with your life. Either way, you can’t go wrong.


  • My husband of 19 years walked out on me and my 2 teenage daughters the day after Christmas. I am absolutely devastated and heartbroken. No warning, he just walked up and said he was done. I found out that he has left me for a woman that he met online. We live in Florida nad he has flown to GA every weekend to see her. She doesn’t even live in the same state. He wants no part of me and says that the marriage is over. I have begged him to rethink things. He is just gone and checked out. I feel completley blindsided by his deception and calculated moves and am having a difficult time accepting this. He has been changing over the past 2 years, drinking more, smoking pot and drunk every night. I am in therapy, but my anxiety is getting the best of me. Why am I having such a difficult time accepting this and letting go? I would give anyting for my marriage to work.

    • Oh my! I understand completely where you are. Even though your husband has changed over the past 2 years, it sounds like you still want your marriage to work. Being blindsided by his recent departure has got to be hard.

      Please try not to be hard on yourself now, too. Of course you are having a difficult time accepting that your husband wants a divorce! You have been married for 19 years and have 2 teenage daughters with him! He also has clearly been thinking about divorce for a lot longer than you have. So don’t beat yourself up for not “accepting” the divorce yet. That will take time. You are not a robot.

      For now, you need to grieve. You need to work with your therapist and work through your feelings. And you need to start planning for your own life, and the future for you and your daughters.

      What is going to happen with your husband? I wish I could tell you. Sadly, I don’t have a crystal ball. But I do know (and so do you) that things are not looking good. You can’t force your husband to come back to you. Plus, you have to start asking yourself whether you would want him back now after how he has behaved.

      I encourage you to keep working with your therapist, and getting whatever help you need to get through this time. Know that getting through your divorce will take time. Grief is a process. You are not going to make it all the way through to acceptance in a few days, or even a few weeks.

      If you don’t allow yourself to feel everything you are feeling (as awful as that is) you will not be able to fully heal. The feelings you deny will only take root in you more firmly. They will bother you in different ways until you deal with them. So deal with them … for however long that takes.

      Focus on yourself and your daughters. Make a plan for a future without your husband. If he happens to return and wants to work on your marriage, and you still want to do the same, then you can work on your marriage. But, if he does not, you will at least be moving yourself forward. Either way, you are going to be okay.



  • My husband told me about 5 months ago that he wasn’t happy with me anymore and that he didn’t know if he loved me anymore, that he wasn’t attracted to me anymore and wanted a separation. He is military so against my wishes I quit my job and moved back home to give him the space he wanted. During this time he started spending all of our money and was drinking all the time. He said some very hurtful things and treated me badly. I also discovered that he starting talking to random girls online sexually and even went as far as talking to local girls about possibly meeting up for sex (he never followed through). Before he told me he was unhappy we went through a 2 month period of no sex because I was very depressed with not being able to get a job with my degree and about my weight, so that was the main reason he was unhappy. I have since started working out and lost 20lbs and he recently told me that he wanted me to come back home to work on things and that he missed me. I have been home 1 1/2 months and he told me the other day that he was unhappy and didn’t see another way aside from divorce. I am so confused because everything he wanted me to work on I have and he even said that I have done everything he wanted and more but is still unhappy. He is withdrawn and unloving towards me when he used to say that I was that way with him. I just don’t understand how he can act this way towards me when he hated when I was this way with him. I love him with all my heart and can’t even handle the thought of divorce. He absolutely refuses to go to marriage counseling because he claims a few of his male friends went and said that they were blamed for all the problems. He also claims that if we need to seek counseling our marriage is already over.

    • Where do I start?

      Clearly, you have a lot going on. I can see how much you love your husband, and how hard you have worked to try to save your marriage. I respect you for that. The question I have for you is, what kind of marriage do you want?

      This is what you have said about your marriage. You had to quit your job to move with your husband, you put on weight, and you have been depressed. Meanwhile, your husband drinks a lot and has “almost” gone to other women for sex. No matter what you do, it seems your husband is not happy. He has said he wants a divorce, and he won’t work on your marriage with you. Is this the kind of marriage you want? Or, did you have something different in mind when you got married. (I’m betting it is the latter.)

      Here is the simple truth. Marriages take work — by both people! If you are the only one willing to put in any effort, you may be able to keep from getting divorced (at least not now) but what kind of a marriage are you going to have? I doubt that it will be the beautiful partnership you envisioned. More likely, it will be him making demands, and you trying to meet those demands and trying to be more and more “perfect” just to keep the marriage together. That kind of behavior may keep you “married,” but it will never make you happy.

      It may be time for you to start asking yourself some hard questions. I know that you love your husband, but you may want to ask how much you love and respect yourself. Are you being treated the way you want to be treated? Are you happy with your marriage and your life — not the marriage and life you dreamed you would have, or the ones you think you maybe could have someday if your husband changed — but the marriage and the life you actually have right now? Is this what you want? If nothing changes, is this what you are willing to live with for the rest of your life? Finally, if your best friend came to you and told you everything you just told me, what would you tell her?

      I am not telling you that you can or should get a divorce. That’s not my call to make. Nor am I suggesting that you stay in a bad marriage. That’s also not for me to say. What I am saying is that it sounds like it may be time for you to do a little reality check. What is really going on in your marriage?

      Finally, don’t throw away the idea of going to therapy just because your husband is not willing to go to marriage counseling with you. A good individual therapist could really help you clear up your confusion. S/he can help you figure out a lot of what is happening with you individually, and in your marriage. S/he can help you explore your own feeling, deal with them and move forward.

      I hope this helps. I wish you the best.


      • Karen,

        Thank you very much for your insight and words. This is most definitely not the marriage I envisioned that I would be in. We always had a great relationship and friendship but since him joining the military things have slowly went downhill. When we first had to move from our hometown I was very sad and that is what initially started my depression. I was happy to be with my husband who had been away for basic and training for 6 months but was so sad and scared to move 14 hours away with no friends and family. I had trouble finding a job and fell into a routine of always cleaning and being the ‘good’ wife who did everything. He started being away training more than he was home and that really took a toll on me. Before joining the military we always hung out with our friends and did our own things but that changed when we moved, mostly because we didn’t have the friends and stuff we did back home. The only things it seemed like I did was take care of the house, our dogs, and try to spend as much time with him as I could. We were on a rough patch and then he deployed. Spending that 9 months apart really saved our marriage and made us realize how much we love and appreciate each other. When he got back things were really good and then slowly we fell back into a rut and I got a job for us to have extra money and things really started to go downhill. I was trying to be super woman working 40 hours a week, cleaning the house, cooking dinner and trying to do everything myself so he wouldn’t have to worry. I guess he became unhappy with me not spending time with him and not giving him love and attention. To me, I thought I was doing what he wanted so he didn’t have to worry about anything after his long days. I am not making excuses for him because I know no matter what he shouldn’t act the way he has been but I truly believe the military has changed him. He was such a respectable guy and never drank but he has slowly changed into someone I don’t recognize.

        I just feel like getting a divorce would make me a failure because I don’t believe in divorce. We have only been married shy of 4 years and been together for 6 and I just don’t want all of this to be a waste. I am just having a hard time deciding what to do because I know I don’t want things to stay this way and to be stuck in a marriage where we both are unhappy but I also know how much I love him and how great things were for so long.

        Sorry for the long response and the jumbled mess. My mind is completely scattered right now.

        • I know what a hard time you are having. It is clear that you love your husband and you want to stay married. To do that, though, I think you are going to need help.

          I get that your husband doesn’t want to go to marriage counseling. Perhaps he will agree to get some other help. Will he go to individual counseling? If you are members of a church, are there any marriage programs you can attend through your church? Or maybe through the military? Look for whatever help you can find.

          If your goal is to have a happy marriage, you are going to have to make a plan for how to get that. You don’t have it right now. The only way to get a happy marriage is by working on your marriage. If your husband is not open to working on your marriage, you can of course try to work on it yourself. But, just so you know, it takes two people to make a marriage work.

          You have to find out whether your husband wants to make your marriage work. You need to have a deep, honest conversation with him about your relationship. You would also be wise to get yourself into individual therapy. That will help you figure out your own head, and what you really want for your life (which may be to stay married, or it may be to get divorced). But only you can decide that.

          Finally, divorce is an event, not a definition. Even if you end up getting a divorce, you will not be a failure unless you choose to define yourself that way. From what you have written so far, I would not define you as a failure, no matter what happens. You are a woman who cares deeply about her marriage and her husband. You are someone who has tried to make her marriage work. I encourage you to continue to do so. Do everything you can to try to make your marriage work. But, also understand that, there may come a point where holding on just doesn’t make sense anymore.

          Trying to stay married to someone who is not interested in being married to you, or who is not committed to making the marriage work, will change your life forever … and not in a good way. Sometimes, no matter what we do, or how hard we try, things don’t work out the way we want. That doesn’t make you a failure. It just makes you human.



  • I have been going through a divorce now for nearly four years. In a nutshell, this is what happened. My wife is the one who told me that she did not love me, she hated me, that it was over and much more, my son heard every word of it. I asked her for about a month if she wanted to go get counseling and all she would say is I don’t know. I filed for divorce she countered me and it went to trial and the Judge did not grant the divorce because she told the court that she did not want the divorce now (because she wasn’t going to get much.). Long story short, I want the divorce she does not we are going through the whole process again and she still don’t want the divorce and in mediation she was caught lying. She told the mediator she would just go into debt and go to trial again.

    • It seems you have been through a lot in the last four years. As long as one of you wants to get divorced, eventually it will happen. You may have to go all the way to trial, and you will have to make sure you comply with whatever the divorce laws in your state require, but you will get divorced.


  • Hello, so my wife wants a divorce but I don’t. She said she’s had doubts about our marriage that began around the first year of our marriage based on her cheating on me. The cheating hurt a lot but I know I’m able to forgive her for that… happened 5 years ago and she said she hasn’t cheated on me since. The thing that has me worried if I can fix this, is that she seems to have checked out of the relationship. I recommended counseling, she wasn’t interested. She really feels like I’m not the one for her but she did at one point. I don’t know what to do. I want to continue to fight for our marriage but I feel like I’m the only one fighting and she said so herself that she’s not fighting for this.

    • I hear you! I can tell how much you want to save your marriage, and it is so hard when you are the only one fighting for it! I don’t want to add to your pain, but I’m afraid that you might not like what I have to say.

      The hard truth is that you can’t make someone love you. You can’t force someone to want to be married to you, or to fight for your marriage. I know you probably don’t want to hear this, but it sounds like that is where you are at with your wife. She doesn’t want to go to counseling, she feels like you are not the one for her, and she has checked out of the marriage. I’m not sure how much room that leaves you to turn your marriage around.

      Given your situation, the question I have for you is: what do you want? You can’t change your wife. You can’t force her to work on your marriage. You can work on the marriage by yourself, I suppose. That may help for awhile, but it is not likely to improve the marriage long term. A marriage, by definition, takes two people. If you are the only one working on it, it may get a little bit better, but it is not likely to ever get to the ultimate loving partnership we all dream about.

      That gets us back to the question: What do you want? Are you okay with living your life in a marriage where you are the only one holding it together? At the end of your life, when you look back on your marriage, what would you like to see? What kind of marriage do you want? I get that you want to fight for your marriage, but, what exactly are you fighting for? A real relationship, or a marriage of two strangers?

      If I had to guess, you want a real relationship, but you don’t want to give up on your marriage, because you think it can become exactly that. You may be right, too. Then again, you may be wrong. The problem is, neither one of us has a crystal ball.

      Perhaps you should consider going “all in” for a certain period of time. You will need at least 3 – 6 months. During that time, love your wife with your whole heart and soul. Be the man you were when you and she first met. Don’t worry about whether you can change her. Don’t think about whether this will “work.” It is not a tactic. You are not trying to manipulate her into doing what you want. You are just loving her, showing her every day that you love her, and seeing what happens. See if the relationship changes.

      At the end of your time period, step back and re-assess where you are at. If giving your all still has not changed your marriage, then you know that your marriage is not likely to change. Your only decision at that point will be to decide whether you want to continue living in that type of marriage or not. Regardless of what you choose, you will be making an informed decision. If you stay, you know what you will be signing on for. If you leave, you will have the satisfaction of knowing you gave it your all. If she leaves, that will give you your answer too.

      Hope this helps.


      PS If you just can’t get yourself to go “all in” for at least 3 months, pay attention to that feeling, too. That may be a sign that you don’t want to stay married either, but you are just not willing to face it.

  • I am going through a pretty rough time. My wife is wanting a divorce and has already moved down to her parents house. We have a 2 year old baby girl and she is pregnant with a little baby boy. We have had our issues as any marriage as many do. There has been no infidelity, lying, abuse or anything like that. She just says that we can’t get on the same page. I am going through hell only seeing my little girl 1 maybe two times a week because I need to be at work early (Cant take to daycare) and stay after 5 (looking into a new job). There has been no therapy which I have pushed and pushed for before this decision. I could move on and let go if I had more answers than questions. I especially can’t stand saying goodbye to my children, it hurts deeper than when I lost my father years back. Knowing that I will be a part-time father rather than someone that is always there for my kids is such an indescribable terrible feeling. I want my wife and kids back. I know that if we worked on things we can give ourselves and our children the life we all deserve. I know it’ll take work and time, but she wants no part of it. I am lost

    • I am so sorry! I can only imagine the pain you are going through right now.

      I wish I had better news for you, but I also feel like I need to be honest. The truth is that it takes two people to make a marriage, but only one to get a divorce. If your wife won’t work on your marriage, you are fighting an uphill battle to save it.

      That doesn’t mean you should give up. But, if your wife won’t go to therapy, you are going to have to find another way to get through to her.

      If you two belong to a church, perhaps your pastor/minister/rabbi/leader can help you. If your wife won’t do that, maybe you could try a couples retreat, or even a vacation if she will go with you. If all else fails, if she will at least talk to you (and talk, and talk) maybe you can get to the bottom of what is going on. From there you may be able to find ways to work on your issues.

      If your wife is determined to divorce you, and you can’t change her mind, then you need to do everything you can to be with and near your daughter and, soon, your son. It sounds like you are already moving in that direction by thinking about getting a job with a better schedule. Try to always live close to where your kids live. Volunteer to help your wife out with babysitting so that you can see the kids more. When your kids are old enough to join activities, see if you can participate with them. Be the soccer coach. Be the parent who chaperones a field trip. Do whatever you can to spend as much time as you can with your kids.

      Also, do your best to stay on your in-laws good side. Especially because she is living with them, they will “have her ear” every day. If they are telling her what a horrible human being you are, that is just one more thing for you to overcome. On the other hand, if they are telling her you are a good guy, that doesn’t mean she will instantly want to go back to you … but it can’t hurt!

      Meanwhile, hang in there. These next few months are going to be rough.

      I wish you the best.


      PS Here is a short video that might give you hope and a few ideas. I have watched it several times. I think it was based on a true story, but I’m not sure: Rejoice “Divorce” China Case

      If you want more information on why relationships break down, here is another great video by Larry Bilotta: What Men & Women Don’t Know About Marriage and The Point of No Return.

  • Apologize in advance for rambling, but anxiety has taken over my life.

    My wife and I have been married for almost 5 years, and have a 3 year old daughter who is the most joyous thing ever. We have known each other a long time, so have had a lot of history even before we started dating and fell in love. In the beginning, our relationship was great, passionate, and we weere very happy and successful. We got married, built a house, and had our child. Then, about a year ago, things started to slide back. Over last summer, I worried she was having too close a conversation with her co-worker, but when confronted her about it, I was accused of being jealous and he was just a friend.

    Fast forward to September, and they were caught in the affair. We started into counseling, but for a couple of months, things just got worse. We went on a vacation. We had a great time, but she still said that the spark wasn’t coming back. When we returned from vacation, she moved jobs temporarily, and reduced her work schedule to reduce stress. That helped, and then we also went to a marriage retreat. While at the retreat, I did all the work, and she kind of skimmed the surface. I tried to keep up with the homework they gave, but she wasn’t interested. We went on another vacation as a family, and it was another great time. For 2 weeks, we were a family, smiling, happy, and found time for “adult” time as well. I came back thinking that we were moving forward.

    This whole time, she was having sporadic contact with this other man, even though telling me she wasn’t. She would say that she wanted to stay married to me, but be friends with him. I said I wasn’t comfortable with that, but wanted to let her have the time, and that I wanted to stay married too, but she had to remove “him” from our lives.

    A week after we came back, she found out her affair partner had a girlfriend, and everything changed in a day. In the morning, we hugged, kissed, and said “i love you”, by the evening, she was telling me that she loved him, didn’t love me, there was no spark. She took off her wedding rings (hadn’t the whole time before), and moved to another bedroom. She didn’t come home one night, spent it at her affair partner’s house, and I later found out they were talking and he couldn’t/wouldn’t commit to her. I snooped and found a letter from her to her boyfriend telling him she was ready to divorce me, and wanted to be with him. Also mentioned that she didn’t know if her and he had a future, but she was there for him whenever he was ready, and would wait for him. Eventually it comes out that the affair started right around when I got suspicious a year ago.

    Every voice in me and prayer answer I get says to stay the course with her, that she doesn’t love him, and that if I am patient she will come around. I don’t want a divorce, but she says she is thinking about it. When I ask her if she’s made any decisions, she just says she is sitting on it. I don’t know how to think anymore, and even with my counselor are having difficulty thinking through.

    The uncertainty of it all is the issue, I wish I knew if there was really hope, or if it was just the voice in my heart and soul telling me that. I love her dearly, want her to be joyful, and know that this other man can’t create that (he is also in the process of a divorce as a result of the affair, but his wife found out last summer. Has 2 kids). Every change i make to make myself better is met with distrust (it won’t last) from my spouse. My wife is still in the house and is now cordial, but won’t talk about anything other than our daughter, or making sure that I can be home so my wife can go out.

    I haven’t been the perfect husband, but was never abusive, didn’t cheat, worked hard, and was home for our daughter every day. My wife has become a totally different person in the last year, even her family says so. I want to help her, I don’t want a divorce. I have forgiven the affair (and told her that), and want to build a new marriage with her and keep our family together. Do I have any hope, or am I lost?

    • Oh my! I can hear how upset you are, and how desperate you are to make your marriage work, in spite of what happened. I wish I had a magic wand you could waive over your wife and make your marriage work out, but I don’t. The only two people who can make your marriage work out are you and your wife. Sadly, it will take both of you to do that. If she is not on board, making your marriage work will at best be ah uphill battle. At worst, you will lose the fight … badly.

      Here is the unfortunate truth: it takes two people to make a marriage, but only one to cause a divorce. No matter how much you want to save your marriage, if your wife does not share the same wish, there is not much you can do.

      Does that mean there is no hope? Not necessarily. Some couples manage to keep their marriage together even after an affair. The key is whether or not they both want to do it or not.

      I understand that living with uncertainty is really hard. All I can tell you is that running from it is worse. If you can sit with the uncertainty for awhile, believe it or not, your perspective will start to change. You will start to see more clearly, and you will start to know what is right for you to do — no matter what that is. On the other hand, if you try to force a solution NOW, just so that you can end the uncertainty, the solution you reach is not likely to be one that will end up being right for you, or your daughter, in the long run.

      I encourage you to continue to work on yourself (regardless of what your wife thinks about it). Get whatever help you need during this time to help you work through your emotions and deal with your situation. (A good therapist or divorce coach can help a lot!) Remember that you, too, are important. While wanting to save your marriage is admirable, if you have to become a doormat to do it, then what have you really saved?



      PS You are not lost.

      • Karen,

        Thank you for the reply, thoughts, and advice. My wife told me Saturday night that she intends to file for divorce. The uncertainty is over. I don’t know what to feel. She says she feels relief, and that she can’t be herself around me. I wonder how this could have changed so much since we used to be so united, us against the world. She says she wants to stay living in the same house through all this, which to me is torture.

        I have kept on talking to my therapist, and the advice is to let it go, similar to your advice that it can’t work if both aren’t committed. As I continue to pray on this, I keep hearing to stay the course, but my mind says this is a lost cause. I don’t know how to reconcile this. I’ve continued to focus on being a good dad, and connecting with friends/family for support. However just the thought of not seeing my daughter every day kills me.

        Do you believe in an “affair fog”, and do people ever come out of it? My hopes for recovery are looking very unlikely, but I just can’t shake the feeling that we are supposed to go through this, and supposed to recover. How common is it for spouses to regret their decision to file for divorce in the midst of an affair? She says she loves our daughter more than anything, but is willing to sacrifice time with her and a united home, which seems opposite.

        Through all of this, I love my wife more than I ever have. I love her for her flaws, mistakes, good qualities, and triumphs. I wish I knew what I could do to help this situation, and what could change her mind about the divorce.


        • I can see how conflicted you are about this whole situation. Unfortunately, there are no simple or easy answers. I can understand that you don’t want to give up hope. But there is a fine line between hope and denial. The first is good. The second, not so much.

          The best advice I can give you is to just give this some time. Is there such a thing as “affair fog” and does your wife have it? I don’t know. Maybe this is just a phase she is going through … but probably not. (Sorry!) Even if it is “affair fog” there is no guarantee that the fog will clear in time to save your marriage. There is also no guarantee that if the fog does clear your wife will want to try to revive your marriage.

          I can tell how much you love your wife, but does she love you? Do you want to stay married to her if she doesn’t? What do YOU want and need in your marriage? Remember, there are two of you in this marriage. If your marriage is going to work long term BOTH of you must love and respect each other. The marriage has to work for both of you. Otherwise, it will inevitably end.

          I know this may not be what you want to hear. But I don’t want to pump you full of sunshine when all I see is rain. You need honest advice, not fairy tales. But, in the end, you need to remember that this is your life and your choice. I can’t tell you what to do. What I can tell you is that if you keep your eyes, ears, and heart open, and you pay attention to what is really happening around you, not just what you WISH was happening, in time, you will have your answer. Give yourself the time you need.

          Good luck!


          • Karen,

            Thank you again for the advice and kind words.

            While I still pray for my wife and for our marriage, she has her heart set on ending it. I have hope for reconciliation, but am also preparing for what will come. I know I will survive no matter what, I have to for my daughter.

            This all just seems so unreal. I will lose my home, my family, large portion of savings, and most importantly, time with my daughter, all because of the decisions of another. How do I make sense of this, what thought process is going on that could help me understand a state of mind? Maybe there aren’t answers to those questions, but a part of me craves the explanation that may or may not come.

            I feel so broken hearted and down. I have given my all, loved as much as I can, even more than I can, and nothing makes sense. Such a sad and lonely time, very difficult to see a light at the end of the tunnel, or even imagine finding someone else to love.

            Thank you again.

          • You’re welcome. I know right now it seems like you are living a bad dream. But, trust me, you will get through this and life will get better … not immediately, but eventually.

            As for your questions, as long as you focus on trying to figure out your wife’s state of mind you will make yourself crazy. You will be much better served if you can bring yourself to focus on what you still have, rather than what you have lost: You won’t be with your daughter 24/7, but when you are with her it will be just the two of you. You really didn’t lose your family. You lost your wife. You still have your daughter (even if it is for less time). So, really, you still have your family. It just looks different than what you wanted. Plus, in time, you may even be able to be friends with your wife (no, it doesn’t happen for everyone, but if you make it a priority it could happen for you.) So you really may not have lost her either — you just changed your relationship. Even though it seems impossible right now, you may be surprised when a new relationship comes your way. You will be happy again.

            I know that right now this all sounds like so much “blah blah” to you. It probably seems impossible to do, and corny and shallow. You are in pain and I’m telling you to look for a bright spot! But, here is the deal. Your circumstances are what they are. You can focus on the negative (because there is a lot of negative right now!) and feel down and depressed. Or you can try to focus on the positive (because it is there too)and start to feel a little better. Your circumstances will be the same either way. But how you feel about them will be dramatically different based upon what you focus on.

            I promise you that, in time, this will all just be a bad memory. You just have to get to that time.

            Hang in there!


  • I love my wife, we have been having issues for a while. We are from vastly different cultures and have different ideas about h0w to live life. I am kinda laid back and she is really eager for everything to be perfect. For example I might leave the passage light on and she will say something like “see this is why I cant live with you” and “we are so different”.

    We have been living together before we got married, she knew how I was. Also we now have a baby just born. She sporadically comes out with this sort of thing “passage light” argument but not just the passage light thing. She picks on everything that I, in her eyes, I do wrong and generally makes me feel worthless. I must admit that before her I had no clue about house work, she taught me and I learned, took me a while but I did it (all things house-work related). At the moment I do most of the house work as she is recovering from the labor.

    She knows how hard I have been trying to improve in general but it isnt enough. I am at a loss at what I would have to do to “fix” things. I have suggested counseling….not interested. I have suggested that I seek help from a life couch/mentor to help…”waste of time”

    I am very confused.

    • Marrying someone from a different culture adds a whole extra layer of challenges onto a marriage. I can see you really want to make your marriage work. It is hard when she won’t go to counseling or get help. Here are a few other ideas you might try.

      First, try digging deeply into understanding her culture. You need to understand her background in order to understand where she is coming from. My own husband is from a different culture, and we have found that sometimes we look at life very differently, simply because of how we were raised. When we come up against an issue where we seem to be on opposite sides of the fence, it helps enormously to talk about the issue and (here is the key) to talk about WHY we feel the way we do. Digging deeply into “why” helps each of you understand the other person’s position on a much deeper level. Once you understand why someone is taking the position that they are taking, you may see opportunities for shifting your own position a little bit to accommodate them. That, in turn, often prompts them to do the same.

      The second thing you might try is working on yourself. If your wife won’t go to marriage counseling or coaching, try going yourself. Focus on your own growth and understanding. As you grow and change, you might be surprised how your growth changes your marriage, even if your wife is not doing the same.

      Finally, do your best to remember that her need for perfection is about HER, not about YOU. (Yes, I know that is hard to do.) When she criticizes you, try to take it simply as a comment rather than criticism. (Yes I know that is hard, too. Just try it as an experiment for awhile and see if you can do it.) Look at whatever it is that she points out and ask yourself whether it is true. If it is, look at it as an opportunity for you to grow. If its not, then don’t take it on. Don’t internalize it. Just because she says something, that does not mean that it is true. Most of all, don’t beat yourself up for not being “perfect” (or for being your wife’s version of perfect!).

      I know this must be a very confusing time for you. Hopefully, this helped clear the fog a little bit.


  • I could not disagree with you more Karen. Respectfully of course.

    My wife of 21 yrs came to me 3 1/2 months ago and said she loved me but was not in love with me and wanted a divorce, and had been planning it for 4 mos. I immediately panicked and pushed her further away by doing exactly what you said, talk to her and find out why. After a solid painful week of needy weak minded antics I googled “how to stop my wife from divorcing me even through she doesn’t want to”. What I got was a mother load of incredible advice. Road map after road map on how to win back you S.O.s heart.

    The first thing I did was tell her “ok, I can’t make you do something you don’t want to do. If you want to leave, I won’t try to stop you”. What that did was buy me some time (and hope) because I took the pressure off of her reasons why. So I then took my eyes and attention off of me and focused on what was motivating her and empathized. I also went and got myself a marriage coach. Not therapist, a coach. Big difference. Coaching does not require both parties to be successful. Therapy does.

    While focusing on her and what motivated her I stopped trying to reason with her, it was only pushing her away. She had been planning for 4 mos, she was past being interested in my apologies and promises, and least of all fixing the marraige.

    After about 3-4 weeks of co-habitating without any pressure to leave or fix anything I could then begin the process of rebuilding, and regaining her trust was the first of three steps. The second was regaining the love by spending time together all while focusing on her. “I” statements were stricken from my vocabulary until she asked about me. Then I kept it short and refocused on her. The third step is talking about the future again. I’m not there yet and I’m still on step two but it’s been 3 1/2 mos and things are looking good. We laugh more, play more, tease and even make a little fun of each other. She’s even been a little flirtatious, and called me honey. Something she has never done.

    I’m not out of the woods but I’m not divorced and she’s not talking about it anymore. I’ll keep you posted.

    • Congratulations! I am so happy for you! It is wonderful that you and your wife are back on track. Thank you so much for posting your comment. I’m sure it can help others as well.

      As for our “disagreement” I actually don’t think we disagree at all. I think you are absolutely right to point out that you can’t push your wife to tell you why she wants a divorce if she doesn’t want to talk about it. Pushing never works. Pushing your wife for answers she doesn’t want to give will push her away. That’s why I said in the article that if your spouse won’t tell you her reasons, or doesn’t know why she wants a divorce, you need help. You were very wise to look for it and get it.

      But, I still think that, when your spouse says she wants a divorce, you should ask her why. Even though your wife wasn’t willing to tell you, other wives (and husbands) will. Plus, if your wife says she wants a divorce and you don’t even ask why, it appears that you don’t care. So, I still say that asking is a good thing to do. But, ask once. Maybe twice. Then leave it alone. Continuing to push after that will likely be counterproductive.

      Thank you so much for sharing your story. Please let me know how everything turns out!



      PS Since marriage coaching has worked so well for you, you might also be interested in a book that takes a somewhat similar approach. I recently discovered it, and I like it a lot. It’s called The Relationship Handbook. Here is the link:

  • Yesterday my wife of 6.5 years (together for 11 years) told me she wants a divorce. Our marriage hasn’t been healthy for years, despite both of us trying t improve things (distant patches, stretches of no sexual activity, being lax on telling one another how we feel). I’ve been a good husband in some ways and a bad one in others.

    I go out of my way to do things for her and love doing them, but I also have this almost addiction to verbal affection/compliments for self-esteem boosts so when I don’t get it from her I flirt with other women I don’t know online to get it. I have no intention of meeting any of them or being physical with them. I know this is a terrible thing and I hate myself immediately after doing it. She has found out a couple times and I guess this was the last straw for her. I’ve tried to explain to her that I do it just for the esteem boost because something in my head is messed up and I crave it. She sees it as cheating, and it is hard for me to disagree with her eventhough I still just want to be with her only.

    She told me she hates me and wants a divorce, despite also telling me that she still loves me and cares about me…keep in mind she was drunk when she told me this yesterday about wanting to leave me, so things might change today when I see her. She said we aren’t right for eachother and can’t make eachother happy. I feel like she was embellishing a bit because of the liquor and being so angry at me.

    I left her a letter before I left for work things morning telling her to really think about this choice because I still love her and I will try to be a better person and husband to her if she gives us another chance. I feel very scared that this is it and I’m terrified of life without her, to be honest.

    Is asking her to really think about this decision the only thing I can really do? I feel like I need to let her cool down and not jump on her to keep talking about things over and over, although that’s all I want to do to try to save our marriage. We’ve been to counseling before for the flirting online issue so maybe we can try again but I don’t know if she is open to it. Any advice?

    • I think you are on the right track. If you hound your wife, you will only push her away.

      Hopefully, when your wife woke up in the morning, she thought about what she said while she was drunk (assuming she remembered it!) and decided she doesn’t want to get a divorce right now. But, even if that’s true, it sounds like there are issues in your marriage that you need to deal with. If you don’t deal with them soon, it won’t be long before your wife is asking you for a divorce when she is sober.

      If you and your wife have been talking about your issues over and over (as you say), then more talking and “focusing on the problem,” is not likely to help much. It is only going to keep you stuck.

      A much better option would be for you to focus on yourself.

      You say that you need a lot of verbal affection/compliments for self-esteem boosts, and that when you don’t get compliments from your wife, you look online for them. THAT is what you want to explore. THAT is what you want to figure out and change. The good news is, you can do that exploration on your own.

      It sounds like you love your wife, but you are often unhappy. You are unhappy in your marriage, and you are looking to change that. That’s awesome! What you need to understand, though, is that happiness comes, not from your wife, but from you — from what you feel and what you choose to focus on. It’s the whole “Is the glass half-empty or half full?” issue.

      Spend some time working on YOU. You can go to therapy, read books, work on your own self-improvement, take up meditation, take up some kind of sport (physical activity does amazing things for your emotional health!) or just start doing things that you love. Do things that make you feel good, and that make you happy. Believe it or not, that will change your entire outlook on life. Once you are happier, and you are stronger, your self-esteem will start to grow. You won’t need compliments from your wife (or anyone else) to feel good.

      Once you are happier, and more alive, you will also become more attractive. Once you change YOU, your relationship will change, too.

      Of course, I can’t promise that this will fix all your problems. If your wife is truly done with your marriage, you may not be able to change that. (Although, who knows if she is at that point yet?) What I can tell you is that you have to clean up your own side of the street first, before you can expect your marriage to change.

      You can also explore marriage counseling too, and that can help a lot. But, start with yourself.

      Good luck. Let me know how things work out!


      • Thanks for the reply. I think you are right about focusing on myself right now to make myself happier. I need to see my friends more often and do things I like to do more often to get me out of the house. I already workout a lot so at least that keeps me occupied.

        I bought the book the Relationship Handbook and will start reading when it gets here. My wife and I started dating when we were 21 and we are both 32 now. I hope the book and other sources help right the ship since it’s been a while since I’ve had healthy relationship habits.

        Neither of us has moved out so far. I feel like that would be a mistake and only ensure a divorce or long separation.

        I’ve booked a therapy session for myself. I feel like it will help to spill my guts to someone and start to rebuild.

  • After 15 years of marriage, my husband decides he wants a divorce, tells me he loves me , he is not going to leave me with no financial security, but he fees i am happier with out him, he only brought problems to my life. For both is our second marriage. We both have kids form previous relationship but never had our own. My son loves him as if he was his real dad. I love my husband he was a great husband but always mentioned since 2009 things change. Mentioned about a trip to Europe he never felt the passion from me… I mentioned a trip to Europe is not a real romantic vacation it was a marathon. But no signs for me , loving person, he did cheat on me about 3 years ago, my mom passed and he was very loving , ask for forgiveness and I did , but he mentioned every day he feels as I leave my lie as preparing for divorce, My job is about 2 hours away, I stay in a villa and returned home right after work on the weekends , asap I can I run home, love my home, we both enjoyed since 2012, but he feels I am never going to change, that I ask for divorce every week, I do but as a defines mechanism because after the pain i suffered I felt at any moment it was going to happen, now that it did he ask me for divorce I am devastated, I love my husband , our attorney is our friend, he called her yesterday to ask what we talk about and is very difficult , his brother is with me he lives in New York and pray for us so much but don’t know what to do, I do feel he loves me but he is tired of my job and working distance, I thought that will help heal and it did for me but he feels lonely.
    what do you recommend , how should I approached , he is willing to do everything so I don’t have a difficult life, but shows love or don’t know if he feels guilty. but always respect each other, we admired each other always. In 16 years we were able to do and grow as a person, he always tells me I am a better man because you made me the best.
    He saids he appreciates everything I done , during 2008 2009 difficult markets I stood up and worked to save everything we had , he never forgets everything I helped but bottom line he wants out, he is not happy.
    Please please give me your advice. Also we took care of my ill mother for 5 years and we always held hands together.
    love him with all my heart.
    When he cheated we had a very distressful syndrome ( we became the care taker )

    • My heart goes out to you. I can hear how much you want to save your relationship. But it also sounds like you and your spouse have had your share of ups and downs in the last 15 – 16 years. A lot has happened.

      The first place you might want to start is with a good marriage counselor. If your spouse won’t go to counseling, ask if he is willing to do anything to save the marriage. You can try a couples retreat, or marriage coaching. You can work with your spiritual adviser if you have one. But, if your spouse is done, and not willing to work on the relationship at all, things are not looking good for you as a couple. You can’t force someone to stay in a relationship or marriage with you.

      Another thing you might want to do is to work is on yourself. When you change, your relationships will change too. Even if your spouse won’t go to a marriage counselor, you can still go to an individual counselor and work on your own issues. That will help make you stronger and better able to handle what you are going through, whether your marriage works or not.

      You also may want to re-think your work situation. When you only see your spouse on the weekends, it can be hard to maintain a connected relationship.

      Finally, when your spouse says he is leaving you because he thinks you will be happier without him, that’s garbage! I don’t mean to be hard on you (or him) but he is totally not taking responsibility for his part of the relationship and trying to make it seem like he is doing you a favor. What that says to me is that he is too much of a coward to tell you the truth about how he really feels.

      It sounds like both of you could benefit from therapy, either alone or together. You both have a lot of work to do if you want to stay together. If you are both open to doing that work, your relationship may survive. If not, then your marriage may be past the point of no return, and you need to be honest with yourself about that. (Yes, I know it’s hard. But if your spouse truly wants out, you can’t force him to stay married.)

      I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but I also don’t want to lie to you either.

      Good luck.


  • I met a woman while living in SE Asia, We married 20 years ago and started a family here in USA. Our oldest two are in college, our other child is 11. For 20 years I have been mother and father, somehow I tolerated it. My wife’s excuse, if you call it that, was that she was a foreigner and just incapable of guiding our kids’ homework, talking to their teachers, getting them music lessons, sports, activities, driving to birthday parties, dealing with health insurance, banking, etc etc etc. She always made a huge ordeal about driving anywhere unless the supermarket. Our home has been pretty gross too, lack of cleaning and hoarding crap like junk mail, etc. Not a clean home on the inside but in a very nice area. Wealthy area.

    I rose to the occasion and went berserk running a company, maintaining a gorgeous property, teaching the kids a work ethic, getting them into sports, taking them to practice (two of our kids are top athletes at the state level), guiding their homework (both kids in college are on academic scholarships). We never had a financial problem, we own everything except modest mortgages on our homes (primary residence and rental duplex). We are financially well off and have a college fund to pay tuition for the two older kids, both are studying sciences. Very bright kids.

    About three years ago I started to take some deep breaths and it was like, this lady I married just goes along. She doesn’t clean well. She never took the kids out to the playground, total homebody. Staying home is all she wants. Never organized a vacation, a picnic, etc. She didn’t even feed them too well, I had to get involved there too. I also took note that when we go out together, she never stands by my side like a loving couple does. She walks a few feet behind. I started to say hey I love you and we are a couple, I want to hold your hand. I want to walk side by side. We have accomplished so much, look at our beautiful kids. Now let’s be lovers in this time and place, let’s hold hands and show some affection. I am very affectionate.

    On the subject of sex, over 20 years of marriage we have sex almost every day. Many times twice a day. I find her very appealing, to say the least. I never tire of sex with her, and she absolutely loves it. I am her first man and I am tender and a good lover. No matter what arguments we have, which are really getting escalated over the last year, we still have sex regardless.

    My wife is stubborn. She won’t show affection to me after all these years and I have told her — look this is a big deal. I see other couples everywhere walking side-by-side. Holding hands. She will not change. How foolish. I am under a lot of stress, just unwinding from 20 years of doing all this work for our family. Now I can hardly look at her without feeling I want out. I want out of this marriage. I know, the grass is always greener, but I want to leave her and find someone that can enjoy lovers time away from the home. Someone who can go take a walk outside. I feel like these 20 years of marriage occurred out of a type of Mother Nature calling at our young age, to procreate and care for a family. I have done absolutely everything above and beyond. The proof is in the accomplishments of our kids, and our financial situation.

    Four months ago I told her it’s nothing to feel bad about if we divorce. That was the first time I used the word. She seemed shocked. I mean, for 20 years the gravy train was going so well for her right? She disregarded it. I told her I am begging her to be my wife, to show love and walk together. Hold hands. We had our 20 year anniversary in May. I woke up and just laid there pretending to sleep. She got up and walked away from our bed without saying a word. I left for the day and spent it at the local beach, sulking in the window of a coffee shop where I saw every single couple walking hand-in-hand. I didn’t speak to her all day. She pretended it was nothing. I have told her with all my heart I can’t stay in the marriage if we have this separation of her wandering behind me anytime we go out together. She just will NOT do it to save our marriage.

    What a stupid thing right? Am I a fool? Because with each day I am closer to leaving. Recently I was at a store and a lady caught my eye, my age. We had a glance together. Then ironically we walked out at the exact moment and I just felt at ease and asked if she knows of any good noodle shops in the area. She said yes. We met a mile away at a shop, had a nice lunch. Afterward walking back she put her hand on my elbow and we walked back to our cars. For 20 years I provided everything possible to my wife and she will not do what a random lady did who I met in the supermarket 2 hours earlier.

    It seems like I am being torn away from her for such a stubborn and foolish reason. Based on your experience, how can I best tell my wife I am at the end of the line with her and will leave. So sad.

    • Oh my! I can hear how torn you are, and how much you are hurting over your marriage. I don’t know whether you have tried marriage counseling, but before you throw in the towel, you definitely might want to give it a try.

      Without having met you and your wife, I can’t say anything for sure, but I wonder if there are cultural differences that explain why your wife acts and reacts the way that she does. While it may seem to you that your wife is being ridiculous by not showing you affection in the way that you want, from her perspective, things might look very different. In her culture, maybe her behavior would seem normal and acting in a more affectionate way would be completely forbidden. (I don’t know if that’s true. But it is very possible.) In any event, that might be a conversation you want to have with her. It may help.

      It seems that you are at a turning point in your relationship. I don’t know whether you can still save your marriage, or whether you really want to. But, if you do, then you have to try doing things differently than you have before. It doesn’t sound like what you have tried up to this point is working. Seeing a marriage counselor, or a marriage coach, can help. If you like to read, you might want to try getting some advice from a good book. You can try “The Relationship Handbook,” by George S. Pransky, “Marriage Rules,” by Harriet Lerner, or “Wired for Love,” by Stan Tatkin.

      As for how you can tell your wife that you are at the end of the line, the answer is: honestly and compassionately. Have a conversation when you are both calm, not in the middle of an argument. Be clear and honest in your conversation, and explain to your wife both WHAT you feel and WHY you feel it. Explain what you want and need in a marriage. Then listen to what she says in response. Ask her what she wants and how she feels. Do your best to listen with understanding, and without interrupting.

      Having an honest conversation may help both of you understand each other better. It may bring you closer together, or it may not. But, even if you two do end up parting ways, by being truthful with your wife, and treating her with respect, you will put yourself in a position to divorce in a more civilized, and less damaging way, both for you, and for your kids.

      Hope this helps.


  • HI









    • It sounds like you have had a very rocky ride in your marriage. What have you tried to do to change that? Have you tried marriage counseling? Have you tried individual counseling? Have you tried couples’ retreats or weekend getaways? Have you looked into anger management courses? Have you sought help from your priest/pastor/religious adviser?

      At this point, getting outside help with your issues (ie from a marriage coach or therapist or counselor) is probably going to be what you need to get your relationship back on track. Otherwise, no matter how much you love each other, the minute you disagree about something, you are just going to continue to fall back into the same unproductive patterns of behavior. You will continue to act and react the same way that you have always done. You will continue to be unhappy.

      To change how you relate to each other and to deal with conflict more productively, both of your are going to have to learn new ways to handle your problems and new ways to manage conflict. Each of you will also have to take responsibility for your own part in your marital conflicts and be willing to work on your relationship. Only then can you realistically hope for real change to happen.

      You are not alone in what you are going through. You can turn the fights and apathy into longer, more consistent times of happiness. But you will have to work on it.

      I wish you the best.


      PS Ultimatums rarely work. No matter how frustrated you are, you might want to try a softer approach.

  • hello i was in jail for over a year for y crime during my stay my wife came to see me whenever she could but it all stopped no phone calls no visits nothing this got me upset. so i asked for help by my church friend to talk to her but no luck . when i did get her she was always saying she was busy and cant come etc . i have not seen my wife in 10 months . it turns out once i was relased this past month she become bi sexual and filed for divorce i was served the papers in prison one of the worst feeling in my life far worst then going in.
    i feel so lost i mean the marriage was good we talked and did everything together.
    i just wan to understand what i did wrong i f i did anything.
    i planed to kill myself the other day because the pain i feel is so real and hurtful i have gotten help but i belive he thinks i am looking attention from her . she even called the police to stop me. i don’t want any attention i just want answers why has this happened . i know i am a excon but that does not make me a bad person i made a mistake i payed the price
    now i have to deal with this.
    the marriage is over but the wounds she caused me is enough to want me to kill myself

    is there anyway you can help me


    • John,

      I hear your pain. Please do not do anything rash! If you are feeling like you want to kill yourself, you need to get professional help now! Please call the national suicide prevention hotline at 1-800-273-8255. They have trained professionals who can help you.

      If you can find a therapist in your area who can help you, I strongly recommend that as well. I am not a therapist, myself, but there are lots of people who are trained to help you through rough times like these. All I can do is tell you that suicide is not a good answer.

      I know you are in tremendous pain. But, after all you have already been through, I also know that you must be strong. You survived jail. My guess is you survived a lot of tough times as well. You will get through this!

      I can’t tell you why your wife became bisexual or filed for divorce. All I can tell you is that nothing she did is worth having you take your own life. Please get a therapist. Please get help. If you do, things will get better! Really!

      I wish you the best.


  • I am Vietnamese. English just my second language. If I made a mistake in spelling or grammar, just forgive me then.
    We have been married over 8 years and had a daughter 2 years 4 months.
    After an argument, my wife moved out with all her personal things and my daughter.
    Now she living at her family’s house with my daughter.
    I got a divorce paper and temporary court order on October, 12/2016
    I am living in TX. I am not able to see my daughter.
    And her lawyer let me know that I am not able to see my daughter forever.
    Is that true. What can I do to see my daughter again.

    • I am not a big fan of using lawyers for everything, but, from what you told me, you need to get a lawyer NOW! I don’t know the laws in Texas, so I can’t comment on your case, but I can say that, from what you have told me, something definitely doesn’t seem right.

      The only way for you to figure out what is happening, and how you can see your daughter, is to talk to a good, local divorce lawyer. Do NOT believe what your wife or her lawyer are telling you. Check it out for yourself. Talk to a lawyer. If you have to pay, do it! It will be the best money you ever spent.

      All the best.


  • I am Vietnamese. English just my second language. If I made a mistake in spelling or grammar, just forgive me then.
    We have been married over 8 years and had a daughter 2 years 4 months.
    After an argument, my wife moved out with all her personal things and my daughter.
    Now she living at her family’s house with my daughter.
    I got a divorce paper and temporary court order on October, 12/2016
    My wife and my self are Catholic; it means good about family.
    My wife would never be cheating on me and me either.
    Cheating not in ours Dictionary.
    I was so upset that my wife took my daughter go to dinner with her family until 11:30 PM without telling me that where she was, until she get home.
    On the next day, I upset still, then I did lock her car and her phone. She was not able go to work. She walk around my neighborhood ask for the phone to her sister in law to take her go to work. Then later, she called the police to help her moved all her personal stuff out of our house. Then in the next few days, she went to a lawyer to fill out the divorce form. And a week late I received that divorce letter from the Denton Court. That what happened.

    • I can hear how upset you are about your wife leaving with your daughter. At this point, it’s hard to know whether there is any chance of repairing your relationship or not. But, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try.

      I strongly recommend that you find a marriage counselor or therapist who can help you and your wife talk through (and hopefully work out) your problems. If your wife won’t go to therapy with you, then I still suggest that you go yourself. A good therapist can help you deal with what is happening in your marriage, and can give you suggestions for how to handle your own emotions. While you may think that dealing with your emotions won’t help your relationship, it will! Will it be enough to save your marriage? I don’t know. Whether counseling helps depends on both you and your wife, as well as how damaged your relationship has become. The fact that she has already filed for divorce and moved all of her things out of your house is not a good sign.

      The sad truth is that relationships have a breaking point. If you and your wife have pushed past that point, then you may not be able to repair the damage and put your marriage back together. If that is what has happened, then your only real choice may be to decide how you will handle your divorce respectfully and learn from it. Whatever you do, I urge you to keep your daughter in mind. Even if you and your wife divorce, that doesn’t mean that you can’t co-parent your daughter successfully.

      Focus on spending as much time as you can with your daughter, and being the best dad you can be. Keep your daughter’s well-being as your top priority. Going through a divorce is rough, but if that is what you are facing, know that you can get through it and you will be okay.



  • I am so conflicted on what to do and am hoping someone might have been in my situation before or can give some advice. August 1st, my husband said he wanted to go separate ways. November 3rd will be our three year anniversary, and in our three years of married life we have gone through infertility and also me falling fifteen feet and having to have surgery, etc. There have definitely been some emotional roller coaster type issues, but I was so shocked to hear him say he wanted to go separate ways. I knew we weren’t perfect, but never did I think he was just done. It’s truly shocked me, and those who know us.

    I asked him if he’d be willing to work on it, and did everything you weren’t supposed to do. (Begged to stay, talked about things constantly, etc.). August 28th, we are in the car together and he tells me about a dream he had about me being pregnant, and we go to church together. The next day, he comes outside and tells me he’s done. He keeps telling me that he “doesn’t believe things can change or have hope they can get better.” I mentioned separation and marriage counseling, which we only did for a month before he repeated the thing about hope and change and said he was done. It was the week where we made a list of resentments, and we didn’t even get started on talking through that before he said he didn’t know if there was any point. He filed the complaint for divorce this past Friday, and says he is just done and wants no part of this marriage anymore. He’s already not wearing his ring, and talking about the things that he will do basically with his new freedom. He says he loves me and cares about me, and his mind is a pretzel. He also says he’s tired of going back and forth and just wants to be done with it.

    Family and friends are telling him he will regret this and it’s a mistake, but whatever is going on with him, he believes ending our marriage is the answer. Where we live, there is a 30 day cooling off period before the judge will sign anything but I am just lost. We’ve been together in total for five years, and I truly don’t believe he wants this in some ways, but his actions are showing otherwise in others.

    During the infertility and fall, I was depressed but didn’t know it until it got to this point, and I am just not sure on what to do moving forward. He wants it to end amicably so that maybe down the road (6 months) we can start talking again in whatever capacity, and we don’t hate each other but I don’t know where that puts me personally or how to proceed.

    • I should also add that he started a new job around when this all happened that he says he likes, but that he said really stresses him out (so much he went on an anti-anxiety medication).

    • It sounds like you and your husband are both conflicted about your marriage and this divorce. It seems that you don’t want to divorce, but you don’t know how to stop it. Your husband, on the other hand, waffles between not wanting to hurt you, and filing for divorce. He also says he is tired of going back and forth, has quit counseling, and filed for divorce. At the same time, he says he loves you and has dreamed about having a child with you. No wonder you are confused!

      The reason you are so twisted is probably because you don’t want to get divorced, and your husband is sending you mixed messages. Or, at least that is how it seems.

      In my experience, if you want to know how someone really feels, look at what they DO, not what they SAY. What your husband has said is all over the place. What he has done, though, is pretty clear. He has filed for divorce, stopped wearing his wedding ring, and quit counseling. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but none of those are good signs.

      I don’t know whether you are in counseling yourself, but, I would strongly suggest it. This divorce came like a bolt out of the blue for you, and it would be helpful for you to have someone to talk to who can help you get through it. You are going to need to grieve the end of your marriage, deal with all of the emotions that that is going to bring up, and navigate through your divorce. While it is possible that your husband will change his mind and you won’t get divorced, at this point, I wouldn’t put any money on that.

      It would also be good to stop focusing on your husband (whom you can’t control), and start focusing on yourself (who you can control). It’s healthy to take responsibility for your part of whatever didn’t work in your marriage. But, heaping blame on yourself won’t be helpful at all. It will just make you feel worse.

      Try to look at what you want. You may not be able to stop this divorce, but you can decide how you are going to get through it. Focus on taking care of yourself, and on doing your best to get through this difficult time. Learn from what is happening, and decide that, as awful as this may be, you are going to grow from your experience. At this point, that is probably the best thing you can do.

      Wish I had better news.


  • Hi Karen.

    I need some advice and I can’t seem to get it elsewhere.
    Friends and family are a great support base, but I need some impartial advice.

    Two years ago, I walked out wanting a divorce. There was no other woman. After fourteen years together and six of those married, we were slowly drifting apart. I think we lost sight of so much but I always felt in last place to everyone including her family. Who are extremely intrusive although I don’t think she sees it that way.

    She was devastated. We keep in contact every so often but six months in to the separation, I got myself together and asked her to try again. I really do love her and opted to date and start again with no expectations from either.
    Now it’s been a year and a half and she still doesn’t know what she wants and isn’t willing to try again.
    She said her heart can’t do it right now, not meaning forever. I told her id wait but she said she can’t ask me to do that.
    So with our limited contact, perhaos once every few months, what am I to do?
    She said she’s afraid to let go because if she does she’s lost me forever but won’t commit to anything either.
    I don’t want divorce. She’s the love of my life and I’m surprised that after almost fifteen years and not making any mistakes in our relationship, why she won’t make any decision.
    I should point out, her sister has never let go of her and she was part of the reason our relationship declined. She never gave us a moments peace and I believe sabotaged what we had very early on.

    We didn’t have children either and it got quite heated between our family a little.
    Not her or I directly.

    Any advice would be appreciated.


    • Ok Michael, I have 2 questions for you. 1) What do you want? 2) What are you willing to do to get it?

      Don’t be fooled by how simple those questions are. There is a lot to them.

      You said you don’t want a divorce. Got it. But what DO you want? That’s a very different question.

      Is the answer simply that you want to stay married to your wife? If that’s all you want, you’ve already got it. But, my guess is, what you really want is what we all want: a fabulous marriage to your wife, who you love, and who loves you back. Great. Let’s assume that that is what you want (although I encourage you to do some soul-searching and answer the question for real for yourself — in detail.)

      Once you have the answer to question #1, then you ask, what are you willing to do to get what you want? Are you willing to stay married to your wife if nothing in your families change? Do you want to go back to what you had? You said “it got quite heated between our families.” Are you willing to tell your own family to back off so you can sort out your marriage? Exactly what are you willing to do to get what you want?

      Are you willing to contact your wife more than once every few months? How about a couple of times a week? Maybe every day?

      Here’s the thing. Right now it seems to me that you are stuck. That’s not a criticism. On some level, your relationship right now is working for you. It’s comfortable. It’s familiar. When you don’t see each other often, you can minimize the drama. The problem is, you’re minimizing the good stuff too.

      If you want a great relationship with someone, you have to spend time with them! If your wife is not willing to spend time with you, if she runs away when you start to pursue her, that will tell you something. If her family interferes and tries to steer her away from you, and she listens, that tells you something. Is that scary? Absolutely! When you actually take action and start going after the relationship you want, you run the risk that your efforts will blow up in your face. Your wife may push you away. She may tell you she is done forever. You may end up getting a divorce. But you also may end up putting your relationship back together, and creating a real marriage. Right now, all you have got is the title. If that’s okay with you, that’s fine. (That gets back to question #1: what do you want.)

      It all starts with you. But, let me suggest that instead of waiting, you make a decision for yourself, and DO something. I’m not saying that whatever you do will work out perfectly. Life is rarely like that. But, by taking some sort of action, you will at least start moving forward, rather than hanging out and hoping against hope that some miracle will happen and life will change.

      So, I’ll end as I began and ask you: what do you want?

      Good luck.


  • hi Karen.
    I am in a real tough situation.
    i will briefly explain.
    we have been married only 1.5 years. known each other 3 years.
    we had a real tough year. i will explain later.
    but, in sept. she got diagnosed with breast cancer. idrove her to see the oncologist. sat with her in the 2 hour meeting. listened to all that might happen to her.
    we left. our toilet was clogged. so i stopped to get something for it.
    got home. the product didnt work. she has IBS. i snapped. went to my laptop and it was now dead. i snapped. said im going to walk the dogs. and i dont remember saying this, but she says i said…will you be here when i get back? and i left.
    she sent me a text about 30 minutes later. she was going to stay with a friend for the night. she needs to be around a toilet for the IBS. i lost it. said things i regret now. i swore via text.told her not to come back. dont contact me etc.
    she asked if we could talk the next day. i said no. dont come back.
    got home from the walk and she had left. it didnt bother me much then. i was still mad.
    the next day i didnt hear from her. i sent texts saying ive changed the locks, threw out her stuff etc.
    no reply.
    we had payasyougo cells. hers expired that night.
    i went to work the following day. after, i bought a topup for her cell. so she could stay in touch with people. even though i didnt know where she was.
    still nothing.
    i got worried that night as she is diagnosed depressive but not taking her meds. i said, i hope youre not in a shelter. i will look for you tomorrow in all shelters. no reply. i also told her i topped up her cell. she could use it for another 30 days again. no reply.
    she never replied. i got worried. so, 4 days later, i cancelled the cell payasyougo. i hoped she would contact me. she didnt.
    she had appointments she was missing. i kept getting texts and calls from drs. about them. they thought i was her, as i had her cell now. i freaked out and thought she might commit suicide. i searched all hospitals, shelters, hotels. nothing.
    her first chemo was 2 weeks after i kicked her out. i showed up with flowers and a present. i found out from the receptionist she was moving out of province and cancelled her appointments.
    i freaked out. she told me nothing.
    i had to wait. she finally contacted me 3 weeks later on facebook. we started talking. it looked promising. but we went days and weeks without talking sometimes due to the surgery, etc.
    then she finally decided it was time to come home. we made the arrangements. she was ready and i was too. then she went on facebook. i had put divorced down on my status earlier ehen we hadnt talked in weeks. i forgot about doing it. she saw it. phoned me. left messages saying she might not come back now. accused me of cheating. i called in the morning and said, dont come home. btw, i have never cheated on any partner. never would.
    we talked 3 days later. she still sounded positive. wanted to make it work. but, i was mad. said:
    i will never talk to your friends. they left messages saying what a loser i was. she needed to be treated like a princess. etc.
    i just wanted her to take responsibility for some things, like not telling me she was leaving the province. she went to her hometown where her mom is.
    i was still mad. but she sounded tense but agreed. said we would talk that night.
    she had lymph node test results 2 days later.
    i felt positive. i thought my feelings were finally being listened to.
    we talked that night. she said, thank you for sending the card to her mom. in it, ipraised my wife. but told her mom, she left on her own. i tried to get her to stay to no avail. i think divorce is next. but i praised my wife and her mome profusely in it.
    she then said, i think we should get a divorce. we agreed that we can work anything out. she agreed. we talked. but then she started crying and said, i have to go. i will call you tomorrow. hung up.
    the next day, no call.
    monday, no call. i called her to see what the results were. swhe is staying in a womens shelter as everyone abandoned her. no money. so thats where she stayed. they wouldnt let me talk to her. they said the director wanted me to stop calling. i called many times. i knew the results were due and could be very bad news.
    still nothing.
    she had part 1 of reconstructive surgery weeks earlier. i knew when the next appointment was. i called the hospital that day and was told it was cancelled.
    i then assumed she had band news from the results.
    5 weeks later a mutual friend told me she was in chemo in yet another province.
    she wont answer my facebook messages. i am begging her to contact me. i really want to know how she is doing more than anything.
    still nothing.
    ive done stupid things since this all started. i regret them. but i love her. she told me on the last call, she has had the happiest moments in her life with me.
    i have her property. try to get her friends to pick it up. nothing.
    i started a facebook page re divorce. i thought if we divorced, i couldnt contact her. this would be the way to do that. stupid in hindsight.
    she hasnt worked since october 2015. i worked 2 jobs to pay for everything. she never left the bedroom.
    we had our dogs seized in february 2016. she was then diagnosed with ptsd as a result. we fought to get them back. and i am in court now still doing it.
    the spca put down 4 of our dogs without telling us.
    i kicked her out in march. the stress of it all just got to me. i admitted it after.
    she came back 2 weeks later.
    we fought in court about 6 times.
    i kept working. but, i got diagnosed with graves disease in june. almost died as it was undiagnosed for 1.5 years they think.
    in october 2015, i found out about my dads traumatic school days. he was in a native indian residential school. i found out he was sexually abused, and only 6 out of 10 kids survived the school! i was deeply affected by this. my dad died of a heroin overdose when i was 4. it still affected me. i tried to get counseling. but the hospital had me wait 6 hours with no help. so i left. i am still dealing with it.
    in february, i almost died from pneumosepsis. i was told i wouldnt live through the night. i did.
    in june i had to quit work. the stress was too much. she had no money coming in.
    in august we pawned our wedding rings for money.
    last week of august, she was diagnosed with breast cancer.
    1st week of september the fight. i kicked her out. in anger. i didnt want her to though. and it was done over the phone via texting.
    i dont know what to do.

  • i forgot.
    we never fought prior to the dog seizures.
    the stress is due to our dogs, no money and her and my health.
    we had a great sex life, we talked a lot.
    when she worked, i drove her to work and picked her up after.
    i dont drink. never done drugs. i smoke. i love my coffee and diet coke.
    our new jeep was seized shortly after our 1st fight.
    the dog seizure is illegal. but, it takes money and time in court. every lawyer ive talked to agrees it was illegal. but, it still takes time and money.
    i drove her to all her doctor appointments.
    when she was going to come back in the 1st week of november, we were both so happy. but, seeing divorce on my facebook ignited something in her.
    i should mention. she has been diagnosed as major depressive. not taking meds.
    has IBS. major meds.
    now lymphoma and breast cancer. chemo.
    we had a great life till she stopped working. then i had to work my butt off to make all ends meet.
    i dont want a divorce. this is my 1st marriage and her 2nd.
    she is 4 years older than me. she is 54 i am 50.
    her mom is 94 and wont live much longer. her siblings dont talk to her.
    her dad has passed.

    • Wow! You certainly have a lot going on! With all of the issues that you and your wife have, the best advice I can give you is to get a good therapist or marriage counselor and start working through your issues one by one. (Hopefully your wife will go with you to marriage counseling.) It’s impossible for anyone to handle all of these kinds of issues at once. You need someone who can devote their full time and attention to you and your wife to help you through all of the challenges you face.

      If your spouse won’t go with you to counseling, and she insists on getting a divorce, you could still benefit from going to see a therapist yourself. Even if you can’t put your marriage back together, the therapist will help you manage all the feelings that come up for you during your divorce, and give you tools to help understand and cope with your situation.

      I wish you the best.


  • Hello Karen,

    About a month ago my spouse asked me for a separation and that she “needed time away to see if she’s happier without me”, and all the other cliches. I did the typical begging and pleading and every other insecure thing a guy can do, which obviously pushed her farther away. She was still living in our house, just in separate rooms. We had great conversations during this time and she would still vent to me about issues and work. We did get into one argument after saying some things out of emotion but talked about it and it was fixed, but then about a week later we got into another argument and she grabbed the kids, dogs, and some of their stuff and moved back home, which is out of state. She was planning on going there anyway to do an internship, but now she changed her name and blocked me on social media, and hasn’t messaged me since and barely responds to my messages. 90 percent of what I send her is asking to talk to the kids. This weekend she came to Denver (where we live) without telling me and didn’t bring the kids with to be with me while she was here. She said they didn’t want to come, which I know isn’t true. She has left a lot of her stuff here at the house and claims she is going to continue helping pay our bills. We have several bills and accounts together in both of our names.

    I don’t know if she is planning on coming back ever, or what I should do in the meantime. Should I be letting her go and forgetting about her? Or is there still a chance? And what should I be doing legally to ensure I’m getting to see my kids and with our bills?

    Also, we had a wedding in Mexico at a resort and they had us sign a couple papers and we never heard anything about it afterwards. We have never signed anything in the US. Would we need to file for divorce is that’s where we’re headed?


    • Ok. First things first. You need a lawyer, and you need one NOW! You need to establish some way to see your kids. The longer you wait, the harder it will be. You may even need to file for divorce immediately. I know you probably have mixed feelings about that, but, hear me out.

      If your wife and the kids establish residency in a different state, then you could very well find yourself fighting a divorce in THAT state, not in Colorado where you live. Each state’s divorce laws are different. Depending on the state your wife moved to, the outcome of that divorce, and your rights and responsibilities as a parent (as well as when and how often you get to see your kids) could be very different. Please, go consult with good divorce attorney in your area immediately and find out what your options are!

      If you do find that you need to file for divorce immediately, I understand that doing that will not be the best way to get your wife back! But there may be serious legal ramifications to sitting back and doing nothing while your wife and kids are in another state. I can’t comment on exactly what those ramifications may be, since I am not licensed to practice law in Colorado. But sitting around waiting for the heavens to open above you while you let your legal rights slip away is not a great idea, either!

      If your wife will ever talk to you, you can explain to her that you filed for divorce to preserve your legal rights, but that you are willing to work on your marriage if she is willing to do the same. (It sounded like you wanted to try to put your marriage back together. Obviously, you don’t want to tell her you want to work on your marriage unless that’s true.)

      Is there still a chance to save your marriage? I don’t know. Maybe yes. Maybe no. Ultimately, that is something that only you and your wife can decide and control. But I will tell you that if she won’t respond to your messages, and won’t work with you on saving your marriage, you will be fighting an uphill battle.

      As for your wedding in Mexico, that’s another question to ask your divorce lawyer when you get one. Even if it turns out that you are not legally married, you and your wife still have kids together. You’ve got to take action to keep your relationship with them front and center in your life.

      Hope that helps!


  • I’m wondering how you feel about “trial separations” and “legal separations” as intermediary steps before jumping into divorce. My husband of 25 years dropped a bomb on me telling me he just wanted out. He agreed to go to counseling, but when it became clear that the therapist agreed we should do a trial separation of 6 months before making any drastic legal and financial decisions, he decided we shouldn’t do counseling anymore, separation is not going serve any purpose, and he wants us to divorce, sell the house and split the money from it. He admits he has no plan for his life, has no idea how he’ll earn a living and pay expenses on his own (I always handled the money and made more than him). I feel we need this intermediary step and he had previously agreed to it, but now just won’t listen to reason. What should I do? I believe it is possible we may reconcile, but it is just as possible we will ultimately stay apart. I just don’t see the need for a divorce since neither of us have anyone else we’re romantically involved with. It seems the separation would be more reasonable.

    • A trial separation certainly seems like a good idea. Maybe you would get back together afterwards. Maybe not. I don’t know. But the first thing you have to figure out is whether your husband is willing to give it a try. If not, you’re going nowhere with your idea. You can’t force him into a trial separation if he won’t do it.

      Your husband might feel better about the idea of a trial separation if you established some rules around it. You can write down how long the separation will last, who will move out, who will pay what bills, and what the purpose of the separation is in advance. You can also make continued participation in marriage counseling a requirement of the separation, too.

      Usually, the whole purpose of a trial separation is to see whether you and your spouse really want to divorce, or whether you can put your marriage back together. If your husband has already decided he wants a divorce (Period!), then a trial separation is probably pointless. Yes, maybe he will change his mind once he realizes what it is like to live on his own. But if he is really that adamant about getting a divorce, then living apart for 6 months is not likely to change anything.

      The bottom line, is that, as hard as it is to hear, your husband is telling you loud and clear that he wants a divorce. If he will agree to separate for 6 months first before doing anything drastic, that would be great. But, if he won’t agree to do that, then, chances are, you will end up getting a divorce.

      I’m sorry.


      PS A legal separation is something entirely different than a trial separation. Legal separations used to be used years ago so that a couple could divide up their stuff, and legally separate from one another, while still staying married. That allowed one spouse to keep the other on his/her medical insurance. You can talk to a divorce lawyer in your area about the details of a legal separation, but it’s often like getting a divorce without actually getting a divorce. It’s a long and expensive process, and there are very few cases where getting a legal separation makes sense any more.

  • I have been in a relationship for 21 years. We never married. We were a blended family from the start he had two children age 7-9 and I had a daughter age 3. Now, my daughter is 25 and has two children. He complains I spend too much time helping her, but even if I am home all he does is watch tv. He never wants to go out and do anything but he always complains he’s bored.
    He does not work, I have most of our relationship.
    He wants to move out of town and has wanted me to as well, but I won’t leave my daughter and grandchildren so now he blames them.
    Yesterday, he said he doesn’t consider them or me his family, ‘ your not my family”. He is a very cold person towards people in general and I have noticed he always wants his way. I do love and care about him, but I don’t feel he cares about anyone but himself. the hard part is now he is sick and needs me, but he won’t go to his appointments and he says he just wants to move out of our state. I am tired of struggling with him and want to split as well, but I do still love and care for him and if he were nicer to people and me as well, I would stay with him forever, he is the one always silent treating me and saying mean things . This has been constant for our 21 years. What do you think when he blatantly says we are not his family?

    • I hate to say it, but I think you have a real problem. It’s hard to build a real relationship with someone who is mean to you, or stonewalls you and won’t talk to you. The fact that you have been together for 21 years only makes the thought of splitting up harder. At the same time, if nothing has gotten better in 21 years, it’s probably not going to get better now.

      My question is, what do you want? It sounds like you are torn. You love him and care about him, but he treats you and your family terribly. He needs you because he is sick, and that probably makes you feel guilty about leaving. But, it also doesn’t seem like you are getting any of your needs met in this relationship.

      I’m sure that your guy is a good person. If he is not, I doubt you would have stayed so long. I’m sure he has his own issues and problems that he is dealing with. I can also understand completely that leaving him will be hard. But, again, it comes down to what you want in your life. Do you want to spend the rest of your life struggling with someone who treats you badly and doesn’t want to change? Or, is it time to let go? Only you can decide.

      I wish you the best.


  • Hello Karen,

    At this point I am in a tough and confusing situation. I have been married for only less than a year and my husband recently came to me and said that he wants a divorce. I was so devastated and confused when this happened. We had a great vacation and a great holiday only a month earlier. We have been fighting quite a bit but I have also been trying to work with him to find ways to stop fighting. He says that he doesn’t love me and that I don’t make him happy. And that he knows that he will not be happy with me. He also said that he will not change his mind. And he’s said this more than once. He also told me that he doesn’t make me happy and that I don’t love him but that is simply not true.

    I guess the confusing part is that we still live together. We are in separate rooms but under the same roof. We still do our grocery shopping together. We don’t talk much at all though. For me its hard because I want to tell him that I love him everyday and I don’t know what he’s thinking. I have just started counseling very recently and I plan to stick with it. We have talked about it and he has agreed to give me time to work on myself. Another confusing thing is that he is willing to go to a counseling session with me. I didn’t push him I just simply took a leap of faith and asked and without hesitation he said yes.

    My big overall question is, is my marriage over? Because I really don’t want a divorce. And all of these things like me still living in the house and him wanting to go to counseling with me leave me confused. Because even now he still says he won’t change his mind about divorce.

    • I’m not surprised that you are confused! I would be confused too!

      Let’s get to the heart of your question: is your marriage over? I can’t give you an answer because I’m not in your marriage. But, your husband is. And you said that he has told you that he doesn’t love you, and he wants a divorce. He has also said he won’t change his mind. Maybe I’m wrong, but it sounds to me like your husband is telling you, in no uncertain terms, that your marriage is over.

      True, his behavior is confusing. You still live together. But, why? Is it because he wants to stay married, or is it just a matter of convenience? He is going to counseling with you. Why? Is he going to save your marriage, or is he only going so that he can have the counselor tell you there is no hope? (Yes, people do that … all the time!)

      I know you don’t want to get divorced. But, if your husband does, and he won’t change his mind, then your marriage is over. (Sorry.) I know that sounds cruel, but, while it takes two people to marry, it only takes one person to get divorced.

      By all means, keep going to counseling if you think it will help. If there is any way to save your marriage, do it! But if you really want to know whether your marriage is over, ask your husband, when you are in a counseling session, if there is any hope of saving your marriage. Ask him if he wants a divorce. Point blank. Straight up. Just ask. Then see what he says.

      I think you’ll get your answer.

      Good luck.


    • I’m not surprised that you are confused! I would be confused too!

      Let’s get to the heart of your question: is your marriage over? I can’t give you an answer because I’m not in your marriage. But, your husband is. And you said that he has told you that he doesn’t love you, and he wants a divorce. He has also said he won’t change his mind. Maybe I’m wrong, but it sounds to me like your husband is telling you, in no uncertain terms, that your marriage is over.

      True, his behavior is confusing. You still live together. But, why? Is it because he wants to stay married, or is it just a matter of convenience? He is going to counseling with you. Why? Is he going to save your marriage, or is he only going so that he can have the counselor tell you there is no hope? (Yes, people do that … all the time!)

      I know you don’t want to get divorced. But, if your husband does, and he won’t change his mind, then your marriage is over. (Sorry.) I know that sounds cruel, but, while it takes two people to marry, it only takes one person to get divorced.

      By all means, keep going to counseling if you think it will help. If there is any way to save your marriage, do it! But if you really want to know whether your marriage is over, ask your husband, when you are in a counseling session, if there is any hope of saving your marriage. Ask him if he wants a divorce. Point blank. Straight up. Just ask. Then see what he says.

      I think you’ll get your answer.

      Good luck.


      • Hi Karen,
        I wrote you once before about my husband wanting a divorce. After a lot of though and counseling that I’m still; attending. I told my husband that I didn’t want a divorce but I realize that I can’t really do anything about it if he does so I was going to try and make it easy for us. We still live together and that was an issue in the beginning. I stayed because I didn’t want to give up my job that I worked hard to get. Financially I am not in a place were I can pay for something on my own. But he is. He refused to leave even though he can afford it. We have just been going through it but March came and he was able to file for divorce. We got the paperwork ready together and we agreed on everything. About half way through March he came to me and told me that he wasn’t going to file until the beginning of May now. And his reasoning is because he’s taking vacation and doesn’t want to have to go to court during that time. But I’m not contesting it. I agreed to everything. We aren’t going to court. Things have gotten more confusing since then and I am at a lose for what to do. I still don’t want a divorce. But anytime I bring up anything about our relationship he argues with me and tell me he doesn’t want to talk about it. I think he might be dealing with some depression and I’m scared how a divorce will impact him. My words seem to come out wrong and I don’t really know how to tell him that it’s okay if he’s rethinking things. I don’t get my hopes up anymore even though my feeling are the same. I guess I just need a point in the right direction. I have went along with the divorce paperwork. (which he was dragging his feet on). I have suggested conciliation counseling and that only made him upset because we would have to talk about the relationship. I have gone to counseling myself for almost 3 months now and I’m still going. I told him that he can still file and leave for vacation. I reminded him of the timeline and how long that filing will take. I agreed to go in and sign the paper when he files basically agreeing and consenting 100% to everything. I have made this all as easy as I can and still he hasn’t filed. I don’t feel like I should do something that I don’t want to do. I have given a lot of though about my marriage and am still willing to fix it. I don’t want a divorce. But with all of my husband’s constant excusing I don’t know that to do next.

        • It sounds like even though your husband says he wants a divorce, he may not be willing to make it happen. That puts the ball in your court, so to speak.

          Here’s the deal. The only person you can control is yourself. You can’t control your husband. That means a couple of things:

          1. You can’t force him to go into counseling.
          2. You can’t force him to change.
          3. You can’t force him to work on your marriage if he doesn’t want to do it.
          4. You probably won’t be able to single-handedly create a fabulous marriage without any help from him.
          5. You also can’t force him to divorce you.

          I know it seems crazy that someone who says he wants a divorce acts like he doesn’t. No matter. He’s not acting like he wants to save your marriage either.

          What do you do next? Decide what you want. It really is that simple. (Although, deciding what you want is often not simple at all!)

          If your marriage never improves, are you okay with living like you are living right now forever? Or, do you want more from your life? Will waiting to get a divorce put you in a worse position than if you file for a divorce yourself? Are you willing to file for divorce, even though you would rather not get divorced, if your husband isn’t willing to change? Or would you prefer to stay married, no matter what?

          These are all of the kinds of questions you need to ask yourself. There are no right and wrong answers. There are only answers that are right and wrong for you.

          The bottom line is this: You are living YOUR life. Stop waiting to see what your husband will do. From what you said, he’s doing nothing. He many never stop doing nothing. That’s his choice. Focusing on him is keeping you stuck.

          Focus on figuring out the kind of life that YOU want. Start creating that life. When you do, you will know your next step.



  • Good morning Karen,

    I have been married to my husband for 4.5 years but we’ve been together for 10.

    For the last year, we have been “growing apart” as the old cliché says. My husband of course has sensed it and when we try to discuss the feelings of distance and lack of intimacy, it usually turns into an argument. I’ve felt like I’ve had to walk on eggshells as soon as he gets home from work because I don’t know what kind of mood he’ll be in. He has a lot of stress in his life due to an aging mother and a high stress job in law enforcement. With that being said when I’ve tried to offer him words of encouragement or put in my two cents, he yells at me and says I don’t understand. Or he’ll bring up the things I’ve done “wrong” in the past. He demands to see my checking account on a regular basis because he doesn’t trust me w/my own money. Yes I’ve made financial mistakes in the past but that was years before we got married. Since then, all of my bills are paid on time if not earlier.

    The constant belittlement at any help I try to offer makes me not want to communicate at all. He says he doesn’t understand why I’m feeling unhappy. He comes home every night, doesn’t cheat on me, takes me out, and does stuff around the house, why would I have anything to be unhappy about (according to him).

    I’ve suggested marriage counseling as a way to assist us talk to each other and it’s shut down immediately. I was told the other day that if I “push” the issue of counseling, our relationship will end on the spot. He demands to see who I’ve been texting, calling, etc. He calls me at least a half dozen times a day on my work extension to the point where my supervisors have taken notice and asked me to address it with him. He refuses to stop calling, saying that he’ll have a “real” problem with me if he can’t call to vent his frustration. He’s even talked about putting a GPS on my car because he wants to make sure that I’m ok.

    I’ve started to shut down emotionally. I’m becoming depressed: eating too much, tired all the time, no interest in anything anymore. My son sees and feels the tension every day to where he just stays in his room all the time. I brought up the fact that I wasn’t sure if I wanted to keep the relationship going the other day and apparently that was the wrong thing to say according to him because now it’s become real. I just don’t know what to think anymore. I’m sure my husband loves me but if he truly cared, he wouldn’t feel the need to control everything I do and feel.

    Anyway, thank you for taking the time to read my comment. I appreciate any feedback you are willing to give.

    • I saw that you posted your comment twice. Since this one contained a little more detail, I just wanted to add a few thoughts here.

      Even though your husband won’t go to counseling that doesn’t mean you can’t go yourself. I suggest that you do. Right now, you need someone with whom you can talk through your feelings, and someone who can give you a little perspective on life and a confidence boost as well. It’s so easy to get caught in a downward spiral when we are in a bad place. Feeling depressed, overeating, and not taking care of yourself in general, makes you tired. That tiredness in turn causes you to feel more depressed, overeat, etc. It’s time for you to break the cycle and take back control of your life.

      I’m sure you’re right, that your husband loves you. But his behavior seems to being doing an enormous amount of damage to you. If he doesn’t see that, and doesn’t want to change, then the question becomes: are you willing to change? How do you want to live? Are you happy? Are you willing to continue to live with someone who is so possessive? Are you willing to lose your job because your husband won’t stop calling your work? You may not be able to control your husband, but you can control yourself.

      I urge you to think seriously about what you want, and what you can live with, and to get professional help to work through your thoughts and feelings. Divorce may not be the only answer. Or, maybe it is your answer. I can’t say. That is your decision.

      What I will say, though, is that it sounds like the way you are living now really isn’t working for you.