September 8

I’m Afraid to Get Divorced, But I Don’t Want to Stay Married Either!

340  comments


Tags

deciding to divorce, divorce blog, unhappy marriage


Confused woman surrounded by question marks

What do you do when your marriage is a mess, and you know you should get out, but you’re afraid to get divorced? Should you just stay married?

Part of you tells yourself that you should just “buck up” and get divorced.  But the thought of having to go to court and deal with all that conflict makes you want to throw up.

Plus, there’s the expense. You don’t want to spend your kids’ college fund on divorce lawyers. You don’t want to lose half of everything you own in one bang of the judge’s gavel.

You’re also worried about how you will survive. You are not sure you can make it on your own. You’re worried that your kids will flunk out of school and end up as drug addicts or derelicts because of your divorce.

Divorce seems so self-serving.  Or, is it self-saving?

Each day that you stay married, you die inside a little bit more. Other than the kids, you and your spouse have nothing in common anymore. Some days, you wonder if you ever did.

Staying married is safe. Staying married is stable. But, staying married is killing you.

You’re miserable. Yet, you know that you will be more miserable while you are going through a divorce. You know it will be hell. Will your life be better afterward? Maybe. But, there are no guarantees.

So, you stay.

Maybe what they say is true: the devil you know is better than the devil you don’t.

 

African American man holding his forehead while wheels turn inside his brain

If You Don’t Want to Stay Married, You’re Not Alone

If you find yourself longing to get divorced, and dreading it at the same time, you are not alone. Divorce is scary. It is life-changing and gut-wrenching. Divorce is time-consuming and expensive. It is not the kind of thing that anyone looks forward to doing.

Because going through a divorce is so hard, a lot of people who would like to get divorced, stay married. Staying married is easier. You tell yourself you can’t afford to divorce. You tell yourself that staying married is better for the children. Your church tells you staying married is better for your soul.

But, no one tells you the price you will pay for staying in a bad marriage.

Roulette Table

The Cost of Staying Married

Nothing is for free in this world. The price that you pay for staying in a bad, abusive, or unfulfilling marriage is measured in the quality of your life.

If you are married to a gambler, a spendthrift, or someone who is chronically unemployed, the price you pay for remaining married is your financial stability. You also pay a price in your health and well-being, since you probably have to work extra hard to pick up the slack and make ends meet.

If your spouse is having an affair, or if s/he likes to party like a swinging single, then the price you pay is with your self-esteem and self-respect. The same is true if your spouse is verbally or emotionally abusive.

If your spouse is physically abusive, the price you pay can be with your life.

Fall picture of family where parents look like they are faking smiles

What if Your Marriage Isn’t That Bad?

While it may be easy to understand why you should leave a marriage that is abusive, unstable, or really bad in one of the ways mentioned above, what do you do if your marriage isn’t that bad … but it just isn’t good either?

What if you’re in a loveless marriage – one where your spouse emotionally checked out of your marriage ages ago? So you are married, but you’re alone.

Should you stay married if your marriage looks perfectly fine on the outside, but is totally dead on the inside? What if you are just married and miserable? What do you do?

Should you get a divorce just because you want to be happy? Is that reason enough for a divorce? Can staying in a bad marriage affect your health? Is THAT reason enough to divorce? Or, do you need more?

The answers, of course, are up to you. But, before you do anything, ask yourself a few questions.

Are you happy living the life that you have right now? If you stay married for another 10 or 20 years, will you regret not having gotten divorced? If you get divorced, 10 or 20 years from now will you regret not having stayed in your marriage? What if you never remarry, or find a new relationship? Can you deal with that?

If getting divorced meant that you got to live life on your own terms, but it cost you all of the “friends” who might abandon you or talk behind your back, would you do it anyway? Would it be worth it to you?

Woman gossips into a surprised man's ear. What will "they" say if you divorce?

What Will “They” Think if You Get Divorced?

Another thing that stops a lot of people from leaving a bad marriage to take a shot at a better life is the fear of what “they” will think.  

Who “they” are depends on who you are. Some people are afraid of alienating their family. Others are afraid they will lose all their friends. Still others are worried about what the people at church, or at their job, or in the neighborhood, will think. 

While being afraid of what other people will think if you get divorced is natural, living your life for other people is exhausting. It is also a losing proposition.

No matter what you do, you will not please everyone. Will you lose “friends” and maybe even family members in your divorce? Absolutely! (Sorry!) But, the other side of the coin is that you will definitely learn who your real friends are.

Yes, there are people who will judge you harshly if you get divorced. That is especially true if getting divorced is not something that they “believe in.” But, don’t kid yourself. Just because they may be staying married, that does not necessarily mean that they are happy, or that they are satisfied with their lives.

You have no idea how many people around you (who also look like they have the “perfect” marriage) are living in their own dysfunctional relationships. As a matter of fact, usually the people who are the most miserable themselves are the ones who will be the most critical of you.

 

Afraid to get divorced - shadow of monster on the wall

Why Are You Afraid to Get Divorced If You Know Your Marriage is Over?

In the grand scheme of life, it doesn’t matter whether danger signs are shooting out of your marriage like fireworks on the 4th of July, or whether your soul is just silently being crushed by your seemingly “perfect” marriage. If you don’t feel like you can leave your marriage, you’re stuck either way.

Maybe you are afraid you won’t be able to make it on your own if you get divorced. Maybe you are worried that your divorce will wreck your kids’ lives. Or, maybe you are terrified of spending the rest of your life alone. No matter what your concerns, they all stem from one source: Fear.

Fear can be paralyzing. If you have ever been scared by a strange sound in the middle of the night, you know that your initial reaction is often to freeze.  You sit motionless in the dark, with every hair on standing on end. You strain your ears to try to determine whether what you heard was just your cat chasing her toy around, or whether it was something more.

That same kind of fear can paralyze you from moving forward with a divorce.

Divorce is full of uncertainty. No matter how much you try to plan it, you never know how it is going to turn out. You will never be sure, at least not until years later, whether getting divorced was the best thing you ever did, or the biggest mistake you ever made.

The problem is that, unlike the fear you experience for a few moments when something goes bump in the night, the fear you experience when you are trying to decide how to move forward in your life can paralyze you for years. Being scared of divorce can keep you stuck in a bad marriage for a lifetime.

Blackboard with the word "Key:" Knowledge Empowers You written on it in chalk

The Key to Moving Forward

The best way to get yourself in gear when fear and uncertainty are keeping you from moving forward is to shine the light of knowledge on your fears and let them start to wash away. The more you know about divorce, as well as about your kids and your finances, the more you will be able to replace your fears with a solid plan of action.

If you are afraid to get divorced because you can’t support yourself, start looking for ways to increase your income.  Find out whether you would be able to receive some kind of support from your spouse.  Meet with a job recruiter, or scan the internet for job postings.  See what kind of employment options you really have.

If you are worried that you won’t get to see your kids much if you get divorced, talk to an attorney and learn what kind of parenting time you can realistically negotiate. Consider changing your work schedule so you have more time available to be with them.

If you think your spouse will try to keep you away from your kids, brainstorm creative ways to stay active in their lives now. Volunteer to coach your kids’ sports teams. Get involved in their activities in ways that will give you more time with them now, and make it more likely that you will continue to enjoy time with them in the future, even if you do get divorced.

If you are overwhelmed by the very thought of getting divorced, take the time to educate yourself about the divorce process.  Meet with a lawyer and learn about your legal options.  Meet with a financial planner and make sure you understand the state of your financial affairs. Educate yourself about what divorce really involves before you start the process.

Close up of eyeball with the word "Fear" on it: Fear of Divorce

Fighting Your Fears

Understanding what you are facing will help make you less afraid to get divorced, if getting divorced is what you ultimately choose to do.

No matter what your fear, fight it by getting the facts, and then taking action.

Maybe you are right.  Maybe if you get divorced you will be totally screwed. But maybe you are wrong. Maybe getting a divorce will end up being the best decision you ever made. Either way, once you have the facts, you can start to weigh your options and make a plan of action.

Until you get the facts and make a plan, all you have is a handful of fears that are sure to get you nowhere — except frustrated and stuck.

Hands hover over a Crystal Ball: To Stay Married or Get Divorced? That is the question.

But How Do I Know I Will Be Okay if I Get Divorced?

Of course, all of the education and planning in the world can’t stop your divorce from being ugly if you or your spouse decides to make it that way. But being educated and having a plan will make you better prepared to handle whatever comes your way once your divorce begins.

Obviously, you will never know for sure what will happen in your divorce, or how it will turn out, until you actually get divorced. (Unless, of course, you happen to have a crystal ball and can see the future!)

Divorce doesn’t come with any guarantees. But, neither does the life you have now.

 

Should You Stay Married or Get Divorced?

Ultimately, you will have to choose what is right for you. That choice – whether it is to stay in an unhappy marriage, or to get divorced – will have consequences.  Some of those consequences will be ugly either way you go.

But staying locked in indecision has consequences, too. As the saying goes, “Not to decide IS to decide.”

Your life will be defined by the choices you make. Getting divorced is a choice. Staying married is a choice. Not making a choice, is a choice.

In the end, of course, the choice you make is up to you. So, which will it be: the devil you know, or the devil you don’t?

Woman looking out at the ocean with words: Decision Day Retreat. ... because the only thing worse than staying OR leaving is not knowing what to do.NEED MORE HELP?

Another way you can move past your fear of divorce so you can move on with your life is to attend the Decision Day Retreat. It’s a small, private one day retreat that will give you the time and the tools to dig into what is stopping you so that you can get past it. CLICK HERE to check it out!

 

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  • This is exactly what I’m facing now! I want out of a seemingly perfectly intact marriage. Nothing necessarily bad has happened but I feel like I’m slowly dying inside. I feel nothing in my marriage, just total emptiness. I feel more alive and fulfilled when I am with anyone else other than my husband which makes me feel horribly guilty. We’ve grown distant over the years and have finally talked about it. He vows to change, and in fact has made changes, but the connection feels completely lost to me. Divorce is something highly frowned upon and I don’t want to destroy my three young children’s lives. I don’t know if I should just stick with it regardless of my own happiness, I don’t know if it’s selfish to even think about just my happiness. But I do find myself having feelings for other people but I don’t know if it’s just momentary or not.

    • Sandy,

      Feeling empty inside the most significant relationship in your life is really hard. If you don’t address those feelings, they will almost certainly end your marriage, if not now, then later. The fact that you and your husband have finally talked about what is going on is hopeful. The fact that he vows to change, and has made changes, is hopeful. But, don’t think that he is the only one who has to change. (Sorry!)

      Here’s the deal. If you have gotten to the point where you feel nothing toward him, then even if he changes and does everything you say you want, you still may feel nothing. That is why it is so important for you to work on yourself too. This would be a great time to start working with a therapist to find out what YOU want. How do you really feel? What is important to you? If your husband changes, will that improve your marriage enough to make you want to stay? There are a thousand questions that you can be asking yourself right now that will help you figure out your own feelings.

      Since you and your husband have been growing apart for years, it also would probably help a lot of you worked with a marriage counselor on your issues. Can you fix your marriage on your own? Maybe. But, working with a professional may help you work through your issues faster, and more deeply.

      The bottom line is this: if you already find yourself having feelings for others, and you feel empty inside your marriage, you need to address whatever issues you face, both on your own, and with your husband, as soon as possible. If you let them go, your marriage will very likely die a slow death.

      Best.

      Karen

      • I have a wife of 17 years. Im 42 she 39. She was abused by her dad or almost. But she has trauma. When we first met she did drugs like weed, and coke . she gave it to me and i did it with her. Maybe because i liked her abd started to love her. Fast forward i never liked drugs but i did them anyway. But when i said said no she keep on going. Then at times i did it too. Because it was around. Sometimes i would cry that didnt want it. Then she started drinking alot. I even tryed that but i hated it. We did this for years. On and off. We had 4 beautiful boys. But it seemed to start it self back up. She had black outs and she d disappeared 4 hours sometimes she would even come back with pee all over her. Has time went on you tried Coke again. But this time my will kicked in and I decided never to touch it again not even recreationally I’ve been done for 4 years not that I was a attic but I did do it from time to time. But my wife kept going and going and going if she stopped Coke she would smoke weed if you stopped weed should we drink. If she did not drink she was Smoke Vape. She had two DUIs last year. I recently started doing it formation about her abusing drugs found out that she is a functional drug user. She always gets up to go to work and pays her bills. But the drinking and drugs will not stop. I really threaten her what divorce. But I’m scared because she is the breadwinner of the family I don’t know what to do. I recently started looking at other women even imagining myself with other women even start going outside the relationship. She told me that this is how she lives and she will never change. I’m scared of Child Support and what will happen in the courts. I am a man. And I need help.

        • Oh my! Where to start?

          First of all, from what you described, your wife definitely sounds like an addict. Recovering from addition is a long and painful road – even when the addict WANTS to recover. In your case, your wife doesn’t even want to try.

          I suggeset that you get in touch with an Al-Anon group in your area. They can provide you with a lot of support and information. You also would do well to get a therapist. You’ve got a ton on your plate right now and a good therapist can really help you sort through everything. Plus, therapy is often covered by your health insurance, so it shouldn’t cost you a fortune.

          Finally, I don’t want to be hard on you, but it’s time you get yourself together and get a job. You need to be able to support yourself and your kids. Even if you don’t get a divorce, you need to be able to support yourself and your kids.

          Here’s the hard truth: your wife WILL crash and burn. No one can live that kind of lifestyle and continue to do well forever. So at some point she will not be making the money she is making now. Right now she’s still relatively young. She may be able to keep drinking and doing drugs for another 10 years, maybe more (or maybe less!). But eventually her behavior will catch up with her. When that happens, you’re going to have to support yourself and be there for your kids – whether you like it or not.

          The path you and your wife are traveling is a crazy one. It’s not likely to have a good ending no matter how you cut it. Change won’t be easy. Becoming self-supporting won’t be easy. But if you want off the crazy train, that’s where you’ve got to start.

          Karen

          PS In case you’re wondering, I would tell you the same thing even if you were a woman.
          PSS With all due respect, the LAST thing you need right now is another woman! I can understand why other women seem so attractive right now. But they would be just one more distraction – one more drug – for you right now. Get yourself together first. Then you can deal with your marriage. After you do all that, then when you find another woman, you’ll have a chance at having a great relationship. If you get involved with someone now, you’re only going to make the mess you’re already in 100x worse.

        • I’ve been in love with a girl for 8 years who is married and shes in love with me(we just didn’t ever have the guts to say how we truly felt. we finally both kissed and fessed up about our passion and love for eachother. When we kissed she told me that she had never believed in soul mates until the second our lips connected. It’s a mess I know, but i love her and she loves me. She tells that she fears that we will never get our chance to be together, because she doesn’t know if she can ever leave her abusive husband. She said that she’s trying to get the courage but i really fear that she’s going to stay with him. She wants to be with me that much is extremely obvious because we are twin fires not just soul mates. She is having such a hard time with all of this because she’s never felt love like the kind we have. I told her that I’m always here and i comfort her but this girl I love is super headstrong and stubborn. She tells me about how bad her health is getting and how she just wishes that she could just pack up and move to be with me. This has been eating at her for the last week and i just want her happy.

          • She’s got alot on her plate and she tells about how stressed out and depressed she’s getting and how she just wished she would have never let me go 8 years ago. She’s been in love with me for 8 years and i see this in her eyes and the way she says she loves me when she blushes. I can even feel how much she loves me over the phone. I’ve never felt this way about any woman. Sorry I thought I’d clarify a few things lol

          • I totally understand. I can hear how much in love you are. I can tell you just want to make her happy. But, that’s not exactly under your control right now. (Sorry!)

            What I’m about to say may be hard to read. So if you’re not up for it, hit the back button on your browser right now. I will also just say a blanket “sorry” for all of what I’m about to write.

            Still here? Okay. At least I warned you!

            I know you’re in love with this woman. But whatever happened 8 years ago is over. If she wants to be with you now then she has to leave her husband and come to you. (Or, you have to be okay with loving a married woman who can’t ever be totally yours.)

            Is leaving an abusive marriage hard? Yes. It is. Because of that, I strongly recommend that she get help. Getting a good therapist and a support group will be critical to her success. She’s also going to need a safe place to stay. If you want to help, you can get those resources together for her. You can suggest she use them. But only SHE can decide whether to go for help or not. Ultimately, she’s also the one who has to move out. You can’t do that for her.

            You said she was stubborn. If by that you mean that she won’t leave, then that’s what YOU get to deal with. You get to decide how long you’ll stay with her if she doesn’t leave. You get to decide what YOU want to do here. But you can’t save her. (Sorry!) She has to save herself. You can help. But if she’s not on board with leaving, there’s not much you can do. (…except, of course, to ask yourself whether someone who loves you as much as she says that she does would continue to stay with an abusive husband instead of moving out to be with you – or be on her own.)

            I know this probably isn’t what you wanted to hear. (Sorry!) But it’s better to know what you’re getting in to on the front end.

            Good luck.

            Karen

            PS Just so you know, this is likely to take a while, too. So, if you decide to keep going, you need to know that too.

          • Hey Karen thanks for the reply! She’s getting resources together for when she leaves. She has asked me to never leave her side, so I wont. I sent her this article. She wants to leave but fear is strong, i tell her ill never give up and I’ll always be here and that she has more strength than she knows. It’s hard…very hard..but she knows it’s coming she knows she has to have all her ducks in a row before we can finally be together. I hear your words and thanks for the help! I really really appreciate it.

    • I would love to hear what you decided to do and what the results were. I am in the same situation and I will probably have to relocate after a divorce where we live is too expensive and I have not been the bread winner so I don’t make much. Very scary in mid-life.

      • I feel stuck in my marriage as well. We’ve had a rocky marriage the entire time. It was really bad for the past 9 years, until about 2 years ago. He argued over everything and it was always him trying to prove he was right and I was wrong. He yelled and would say rude/insulting things to me. I would shut down and he would act like nothing happened, after a couple of hours. He always seemed to be in a bad mood and I felt like me and our kids were walking around on eggshells just to keep the peace. I don’t know if he got worse, or if I just finally got sick of it, but it seemed like it got worse. He would insult me in front of our families, friends, waitresses, without even realize he was being rude and embarrassing me. One time when the house was a wreck and he freaked out and started griping and cleaning, which was the only time he helped around the house. I told him that I couldn’t work full time, so everything for the kids, and keep the house clean. He said, “Why not? Single moms do it all the time.” Really?! Once he told me that my Facebook profile picked made me look cross-eyed. I changed it. He asked me why and I told him it was because of what he said. He said he didn’t mean it, that I was beautiful in it, and that he was just jealous of the attention and nice comments I was getting on it. We got in to gauge fight because he wanted to spend $1300 on a new gun. 5 days before he’d told me we couldn’t buy the $1200 fridge I wanted because we couldn’t spend money on it right now. We’d been keeping our freezer closed with a child lock for almost a year, replacing it a couple times a month. Fridge food was freezing and freezer food was thawing a lot of the time. I said ok. Then he asked for the gun and I was furious. The kids told my mom that all he ever does is yell. The list goes on, and on, and on. About 2 years ago I decided I was done. He knew it and begged for counseling and to a chance to change. I’d been telling him we needed counseling for about a year and a half before that. He went to individual counseling and started making big changes almost immediately. He was nice, thoughtful, and wanted to actually let me have a say in things. I felt absolutely nothing for him, even after he started doing better. It’s been 2 years and I still don’t feel loving feelings toward him. We haven’t had sex in 3 years, don’t hold hands or kiss, and I don’t really want to. The last 10 months or so I see the old him coming out more, he doesn’t help around the house much like he was after he started therapy. I feel like I’d lost all love and respect for him before he decided to change. Am I just being stubborn and not accepting the new him or is there nothing left of my marriage? I can’t live like this, but I don’t know if it’s something I could overcome. I don’t want to mess up my kids. I’m so unhappy and I know he is, too. He doesn’t understand why I didn’t just get over the bad times after he changed. Please help me.

        • I don’t know if you can overcome how you feel or not. I do know that if you want to change your feelings, you have to honestly WANT to change AND you have to be willing to WORK to make the change happen. You can’t fall back into love with someone if you’re constantly on guard, watching to see if the changes he made years ago are really going to stick.

          Knowing what you want sounds so simple. The problem is that our heads are so crowded with thoughts about what we “should” want that we can’t clearly see what we do want. Our hearts are so full of anger and resentment that there is little space left for love. If you want to get clear about whether you’re being stubborn, or whether there truly is nothing left of your marriage, you have to LISTEN to the still small voice inside of you. To do that, you need to get clear in both your head and your heart.

          You said your husband went to individual counseling and made big changes. Maybe you might want to consider going to individual counseling yourself. That will help you figure out what you really want and how you truly feel.

          I know this probably isn’t exactly what you wanted to hear. (Sorry!) Hope this helps anyway.

          Karen

          • So stuck. Divorcing would be the most painful life experience I can imagine. 3 boys. They love there father. He’s a work aholic and an alcoholic that tries not to drink because he knows I don’t like it. I’m not just married to him, it’s our home we built our land and farm and our family. I know he wants more. I want more. I’m done being the one who tries to make it work .I just barely care anymore. He’s rude. He hurts my feelings. I moved across the country to try to make this family work when I was pregnant. My 15 year old knows we got married because we were pregnant. This does not feel like love. But I will do anything for my kids.

          • I can hear how unhappy you are. Have you tried marriage counseling? Has your husband tried Alcoholics Anonymous? Would he?

            Being married to an alcoholic is definitely not easy. It sounds like you want a divorce, but you don’t want to let go of your land or your farm. You also don’t want to hurt your kids. All of that is understandable. But you’re miserable. So, what can you do?

            If your marriage is truly over, then you need to start making an exit plan. I know that sounds cold. But right now it sounds like you don’t have the financial means to leave. You can work on that.

            Will getting a divorce be painful? Absolutely! But how much pain are you in right now?

            I know you will do anything for your kids, but the bigger question is: what will you do for yourself? Even if the only thing you can do is to start preparing for divorce in the future, once the kids are gone, that’s something. Or, you can pull out all the stops and work on your marriage. Maybe if he’s willing to do the same, he may change, too.

            I know this is hard. Hang in there!

      • I’ve been married 38 yrs. I got married when I was 19 and my husband was 22. I was a very shy insecure girl at the time. I never wanted to hurt anyone’s feelings so I said yes… I was definitely not in love… We dated for a year before we married. I think my parents were happy to finally be able to do what they wanted. My husband had a fairly good job. I cried every night prior to the wedding. We were married for a year an a half when he moved out because he met someone else. We were separated for 4 months. My dad met my husband at a bar one night and told him he needed to decide what he wanted…. at the time I was finally getting on with my life.. I had excepted a date with a co worker… my husband found out and said he wanted to be with me again… stupid insecure me said ok… 3 months later I was pregnant.. My son was and still is the joy of my life… I put all my love and energy into raising him… I didn’t know if I could possibly love anyone more.. 6 years later I got pregnant again…. I was so excited. I remember telling my husband and his remark was “that’s nice”… again I put all the love and attention into my kids. My husband was a good provider but not always the best father… we didn’t have the kind of family I dreamt of… when my youngest was about 13 the sex became less and less…we never had the best sex life but it got really bad. I’m human and I want sex like anyone else. When I made advances he would say “no I’m good”… then I would just go in the other room and cry. I could never understand why didn’t want me … he’s denying me made me feel so ugly… by the time my youngest started college I gained 30 lbs. In 2014 my life was turned upside down.. my oldest moved out of state… my dad who I loved tremendously died suddenly.. my youngest graduated from college… my job that I had for 32 yrs went over seas..all the friends I saw on a daily bases I only see about 4 xs a year now… my cat of 21 yrs died and the my youngest moved out of state…. 2014 was devastating for me…. I was now left with a man that made me feel ugly and I could never please. In January of 2015 my old high school boyfriend friended me on FB…. we both loved each other a lot in high school but his dad got a job out of state.. we wrote back and forth for a while but that quietly ended… I was so happy to be talking to him again… for the first time in a long time I felt alive and wanted…I lost 30 lbs in 3 months.. he was in the service so was gone a lot and we talked back and forth… unfortunately some dreams are better left dreams… we weren’t as combatable as we once were. We never actually met and we still talk but just as friends… 9 months after I lost my job I found another one.. only 2 people in the office…. much different then 200 people prior… there is another small office upstairs. I met a great guy… I couldn’t believe that GOD had brought me to this job to meet the most perfect guy… we flirted for 4 years… he knew I was married and didn’t want to be disrespectful… we never did anything but I really grew to love him.. this summer he started getting a little stand-offish… I figure he found a girlfriend and is afraid to tell me… I have told him probably 10 xs that I want to leave my husband… but I’m so afraid. I’m sure he got sick of hearing it and moved on…. I’m so afraid to leave… I’m 58 years old… I will have to work 2 jobs to afford an apartment and probably never be able to retire… what I want is someone to hug me when I have a bad day (I can’t remember the last time I was hugged)…. I want to be happy to go home at night and not cry all the way home from work..I want someone that I want to go away on vacation with. I want to laugh again…. it’s been a long time!! I want to leave my husband but Im afraid I won’t survive and I really don’t know how to meet anyone else… in 2015 I told my husband I was leaving him… he burst into tears and promised to change…. he really has… he doesn’t yell as much and is much kinder… the problem now is I think the damage has been done…. I don’t care anymore.. everything he does annoys me… he wants sex a lot more now and it makes my stomach crawl… how dare he decides when we have sex when for 13 yrs I got to hear “ I’m good”…. sorry for writing my life story but it sure feels good to share… thank you for listening

        • It sounds like you and your husband have a lot of issues that you have never talked about or worked through. Before you do that, though, you need to start to figure out what you want … and what you’re willing to do to get it. You also need to get honest with yourself.

          If you don’t want to be married to your husband you need to decide what you’re going to do about that first. You said you want to leave him but you’re afraid. I totally get that. Having been married for all of those years, and having suffered so much loss all at once (losing your dad, your cat, and having your kids move out) has to be hard. I can only imagine how terrifying it must be to face living alone and supporting yourself at this point. But, here’s the deal: a decision made from fear is NEVER a good decision.

          If you only stay married because you can’t afford to leave you are going to be stuck in a marriage of convenience. Over time, you’re going to resent your husband more and more for all of the things he is not. It doesn’t matter how much he changes. If inside yourself you don’t want to be with him, you’re not going to care. You’re going to end up hating being with him.

          Now, here’s the part you’re not going to want to hear. (Sorry!) If you stay married when you want to divorce, and you are unhappy, that’s not your husband’s fault. It’s your responsibility to take control of your own life.

          Will you have to work 2 jobs if you leave him? Maybe. Will you have to give up your retirement because you won’t be able to afford it? Maybe. But will you be happy if you stay married just for the money and the security? That’s a question only you can answer.

          Only YOU can decide what you’re willing to do, or not do, in life. Only YOU can decide what your life is worth to you, and what kind of life you want to have. Staying married and getting a divorce are both choices. You could choose either one. You could be happy choosing either one — BUT you have to decide you will be happy and work at it.

          Neither choice is going to be perfect. Neither choice is inherently “good” or “bad.” There are pros and cons to each choice, and only YOU can decide which choice makes sense for you. But NOT CHOOSING, and staying married while you want to be divorced, guarantees that you will stay stuck and remain unhappy. (Sorry!)

          I apologize if this was a little harsh. But sometimes we all need a little nudge in order to move forward.

          Hope this helps.

          Karen

        • Loooomg story but after losing my Mom and becoming an empty nester , I truly realized how unhappy my marriage is.
          My husband is over 20 years older , and that alone has been hard. We had two kids before marriage and I made them my world. Now that’s it just us two I feel like I can’t stand him. I spend hours alone every night and when I lost my Mom he offered no emotional support. For the first time I’m my life I realize I have a choice and a voice. I told him a year ago how I felt and he stormed off in anger. He told me if I sign any papers I’d never see him again , and our kids ( both live out of state) wouldn’t have a home to visit. Right after I told him he called our son in Chicago and somehow he had a wellness check while I was gone .. I don’t think he was suicidal that was a scare tactic. I came from a childhood of abuse and he says he took me away from that. He’s always been a good provider and I do care about him deeply but I’m so incredibly alone. I thought it was grief related but I still feel the same. It was wrong from the start. It’s been 25 years. I’m afraid to hurt him or to be alone but I’m not happy either. And I just lost my job.

          • Oh my! You certainly have a lot on your plate! I can understand why you’re feeling alone. Talking to a therapist, or a coach could help a lot. So could finding a divorce support group near you. (While you may think that divorce support groups are only important if you are actually IN a divorce, some can also be helpful in helping you decide whether divorce is the path you want to take.)

            As for what your husband has said, it’s hard to know what he would really do, or not do. People do a lot of trash talking in divorce. They try to scare their spouse into doing what they want by threatening them. Or, they try to make their spouse feel guilty for wanting to leave, or for wanting more out of life. At the same time, people can also get desperate in divorce. What you need to sort out is fact from fiction. For example, will your kids lose their home if you divorce? I don’t know. Maybe one of you can keep the house in the divorce. Maybe not.

            What I do know is that a “home” is much more than just a house. As long as you can keep a good relationship with your kids, my guess is that they would always feel like they had a mom to visit. Isn’t that what really matters?

            I can tell that you don’t want to hurt your husband or be alone. Yet, it sounds like you’re already alone, even though you’re married.

            You said you’ve finally realized that you have a choice and a voice. That’s awesome! You also have a lot of strength – otherwise, you wouldn’t have gotten through everything you have dealt with lately. Now it may be time to start using your voice to claim the life you want. Whether that will be with or without your husband remains to be seen. That’s where your choice comes in. Have enough faith in yourself to know that, one way or another, whatever choice you make will be the right one.

            Best,

            Karen

        • I wish I had answers for you. I know that staying in a loveless marriage, or one that looks good on the outside but is empty on the inside, sucks! But, the truth is, the only one who has your answers is you. (And, yes, I know that is a wildly unsatisfying response! Sorry.)

          Ultimately, it comes down to deciding what you want for your life, and what you’re willing to do to get it – whether you stay married or get a divorce.

          Sorry. I wish I had better answers.

          Karen

        • I have been separated for four years. I am terrified to get divorced because my husband owns the condo we are living in. I am also scared of how he will react. This weekend I got my own phone and he has about lost it. He is Iranian, he doesnt even want me but has to control me. Four years ago I found out that he was not faithful. I was completely heart broken. We separated, he maintains control because if he acts upset he takes it out on our son. My son has epilepsy, when he gets upset it causes seizures. This is how he controls me. I dont know what to do. When I met him I was a successful woman. RN worked at a hospital. Now you wouldnt even recognize me, I have zero friends now. I havent done anything for myself and cant find a job. I dont know how I got here, and I dont know how to get out. Any suggestions?

          • Oh my! I feel for you.

            Let me start by saying that you CAN get out. You have that power within yourself. But, where to start, right?

            Believe it or not, I would start by working on yourself. Get therapy. Take continuing ed classes in nursing to freshen up your skills. Make some friends. But (here’s the key!) do everything ONE STEP AT A TIME! You didn’t get to where you are right now in one day. You’re not going to get out of the situation in one day. But if every day you do ONE THING to help yourself move forward (no matter how small that one thing may be) you will be astonished by where you’re at one year from now.)

            As for your son, that’s something you may want to talk to an attorney in your area about. You need to find out if you can limit or control the contact between your husband and your son if you separate. If your husband’s behavior is harming your son, perhaps that is possible. But you definitely need legal advice about that.

            Finally, remember who you are. As soon as you start believing in yourself again, you will also start to get stronger. The stronger and more independent you are, the less control your husband will have. From there, everything will start to get clearer and less terrifying.

            Hope this helps.

            Karen

    • Hi, I am a 31 year old woman married to a 44 year old man, we have 3 kids together and for long now I have been very unhappy and depressed it all started when he cheated on his phone caught him the 1st time I tried to kill myself as I was very depressed and couldn’t handle the betrayal, he swore he won’t do it again I gave him another chance just for him to do it to me again, it didn’t stop there he did it again and then a 4th time again sex talks with other woman on chats saying things to them that I longed for that I asked for with tears in my eyes, lies about finances kills me, we are in a rutt with finances now and have to downgrade the lifestyle a lot, I never believe him, I struggle to take to heart anything he says, I reached a point of where I don’t want to be intimate with him anymore I don’t enjoy it at all, the connection is gone, he now tries and doesn’t want us to get divorced but I feel like it’s to late, I find that I now have Intrest in other men and don’t feel any guilt about it, I want out of the marriage but I feel sorry for him he still acts now as if we are fine and I am not because I am so unhappy I have a different plan for my life and it doesn’t involve him at all, I don’t know how to tell him that I want us to move into different places and I want the divorce he makes me feel bad because he tries he’s like a puppy does everything and anything for me but nothing he sows changes me I feel the same I am disconnected, dont enjoy being intamate, angry all the time, frustrated with everything, I am very distant he felt it and tried to kill himself that made me feel even worse he cries to our married friends and seeks sympathy and all tries to convince me that I should stay with him and tells me how he loves me blah blah blah blah, but no one ever realizes that I am dying inside everyday a little more as I stay because I am sorry for him and I feel bad for wanting out and a different life, I want to be happy I have never lived before my life revolved around him and my kids they were my center and now I feel like I was never appreciated and never lived or could never be myself I had our first baby when I was just 18 and second when I was 21 he only married me after 10 years of being together I basically just planned the wedding bought my own engagement ring there was never a proposal I was never made feel special at all and these thoughts haunts me because I feel like I deserve the life I want and to be happy but I am stuck because I don’t have the guts to do what I know I want to do it’s so unfair to have this heart where you can’t bare hurting others yet inside you are dying.

      • Oh my! I can hear how much you’re hurting! So much has happened between you and your ex that sorting it all out and getting yourself unstuck so you can have the life you dream of and deserve will be a process! It will take time. Just know though, that if you’re willing to put in the time and the effort, you CAN do it! But you’ll probably need help.

        Right now the best thing you can do is to find yourself a good therapist in your area who you can talk to. That therapist can help you understand and manage your emotions. That way, instead of pushing your emotions down so much that you feel like you’re dying inside, you can deal with them and actually start to feel alive again! The therapist can help you build yourself up so that you have the guts to do what you want to do. It’s absolutely possible. It’s just really hard to do it alone.

        What’s positive is that therapists are often covered by medical insurance. Many of them also work on a sliding scale. That makes them more affordable for those who don’t have a lot of resources.

        I strongly encourage you to start working with a therapist. Doing that can completely change your life.

        Best,

        Karen

    • My co worker had to remind me that sometimes we do have to be selfish for our own sakes. I think my wife feels it too that we’ve drifted apart and aren’t interested as much in each other. I think were both just afraid of what’s gonna happen to us. It’s a terrible conversation to have but Its been eating me up inside lately. The kids, our futures, will I find someone again? I think I would rather deal with all of that then exist with someone with little to no connection.

      • You’ve hit the nail on the head!

        Life is about choices. It sounds like the one you’re facing is whether you’d rather spend the rest of your life in a loveless marriage where you have little to no connection, or whether you’re willing to brave the unknown for the chance to create a more meaningful relationship.

        It’s not easy!

  • My name is Jerrica. I’ve been with my husband for 13 years. He has a learning disability and a drug problem. He has a kind heart and loves me very much. Every time I look at him I worry about what’s going to happen to him if I get a divorce. I have always supported him. He has worked jobs here and there, but has never paid any bills. He has always helped with our two children. He doesn’t drive, he isn’t thoughtful, he doesn’t know how to make me happy. He has never planned a date for me and paid. I’ve never been on a real date. He never wants to go with me and the kids to outings it’s always just us. He sits in the house and that’s pretty much it. His family is also a problem. They’ve never done anything for us. There are a number of things I could go on forever. I’m not perfect. I’m in therapy now because I cheated on him. I’m ashamed of myself and it’s in the past, but I feel like that was a way to keep me sane through all of my problems. It was wrong I know. But after that happened. I know I want a divorce. A fresh start for just me and my sons… A new beginning. I’m scared to death to start that beginning he is all I’ve ever known.

    • Jerrica,

      It sounds like you still care for your husband a lot and are really struggling with your decision. I can feel your pain! What is positive is that you are in therapy right now. That will give you a safe place where you can explore your feelings and start thinking about what you want, and what you are going to do.

      I can’t tell you whether you should stay or go. That is totally your decision. What I can tell you is that the people who are at peace with their decision to divorce have usually all said the same thing: they knew they tried everything they could to make the marriage work before they decided to divorce. The people who regret their decision can not say the same thing.

      So the question you might want to ask yourself is whether you have tried everything you can to work on your marriage? Have you tried couples counseling? Have you told your husband exactly what you want? If not, he may not know. (Yes, I know that sounds impossible! But, you would be surprised. Men and women think very differently. He genuinely might not understand what you want or how unhappy you are.)

      On the other hand, if you have tried everything and nothing has worked, there is no sense in beating a dead horse, either. If you are that unhappy and your husband won’t step up and try to make things better at all, then it might be time to look at your options.

      The best way I know to deal with fear of the unknown is to arm yourself with knowledge. What are you afraid of? Are you afraid you won’t be able to support yourself? Then make a budget and figure out how much money you will need to survive on your own. If you are not earning enough to cover your expenses, brainstorm ways you can make more money. If you are afraid of how much your divorce is going to cost, or what you are going to have to give your husband in your divorce, meet with a lawyer just for an informational session, and learn about what you are facing. Learn what your legal rights and responsibilities are. Get an estimate of how much getting divorced might cost you. Even if you don’t like what you hear, it is important for you to know what you are facing.

      The bottom line is that, the more information you can get, the better able you will be to face your fears.

      You sound like an intelligent and hard working person. Trust yourself that you will be able to figure this out. Trust that you will find a way to get through this tough time. Give up the need to be perfect. That will keep you stuck forever. You don’t have to be perfect. You just have to do your best. In the end, that’s all you can do.

      Best,
      Karen

  • I am in a rough spot. My wife has done a lot to me over the years – from rejecting my daughter to cheating on me for 4 of our 12 years of marriage.

    I have reached the point of no return – I feel no more pain, but I don’t want to be married. For me, our bond has completely dissolved. I have no more feelings for her. This is also the point in our marriage where she is trying.

    We have small children – the thought of leaving floods me with guilt. The thought of staying floods me with anxiety and sadness. I’m stuck.