January 4

When is it Time to Divorce? 18 Questions to Help You Decide

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divorce advice, divorce blog, divorce financial planning, divorce strategy, divorce tips


Exhausted wooden figure draped over a clock signifying time to divorce.

There’s never a good time to do certain things … like get a root canal, or discover you have a brain tumor. Or get a divorce. But, when you know deep inside that your marriage is in serious trouble, and you can’t remember the last time you were happy, it’s natural to wonder whether it may be time to divorce.

The problem, of course, is that deciding to divorce is no ordinary decision.  It’s not like you are trying to figure out whether the best way to lose weight is to go Paleo or just get off the couch and exercise more.  You’re trying to decide what you should do with your LIFE!

That’s huge!

Plus, you’re not just trying to decide whether to divorce. You’re also trying to decide, if you do get divorced, when should you do it. That’s a whole other can of worms.

Two red question marks forming a heart.

Is There Ever a “Right” Time to Divorce?

No matter how much you agonize over your decision, you are never going to find the perfect time to end your marriage. The little voice in your head can always find at least a few dozen reasons why getting divorced at this particular time in your life is a really bad idea, like:

You don’t have a job. (Or) You just got a job and you can’t take time off to get divorced. (Or) You have a job but you make too much money and you will get taken to the cleaners if you get divorced.

Or maybe the voice will target your kids:

Your kids are too young.  Your kids are too old. You don’t want your kids to have to change schools. You don’t want to ruin your kids’ lives. (Or) If you get divorced your kids will hate you!

Or, maybe the voice will target your home:

You just bought your house. (Or) You bought your house before the real estate market crashed and it still isn’t worth what you paid for it. (Or) You’ve had your house forever and it will need a ton of work before you sell it. (Or) You think anybody is going to buy your house?!!!

The truth is, no matter what stage of life you are in, how old your kids are, or what your financial circumstances, you can always find a ton of excuses for not getting divorced … or at least, for not getting divorced right now.

woman look at circle over her head: Yes, No, Maybe. Deciding to Divorce

How Do You Decide When to End Your Marriage?

When you are trying to figure out whether you should get a divorce, you will often find your mind throwing up roadblocks to divert you from the question. So, you start by thinking, “Should I get a divorce?” and your mind says, “What? You can’t get a divorce now! You’ve got a family vacation planned in two months!”

So, you tuck the question of whether you should divorce into the back of your mind and make a mental note to think about it again later. But, after your vacation is over, something else comes up. And then, something more comes up. And on and on it goes. Meanwhile, you are getting more frustrated, more unhappy, and more dissatisfied with your life.

Eventually, at some point, your psyche just can’t take it anymore. That’s when you find yourself exploding like a water balloon being filled from a fire hose. That’s when your spouse does some little thing to annoy you, and you find yourself screaming, for no apparent reason, “I want a divorce!”

Usually, when that happens, it’s at the worst possible time.

Young man screaming, "I want a divorce!"

How Not to Explode

The key to maintaining your sanity, and to getting divorced at the least bad time possible, is to do some serious soul-searching as soon as you realize that maybe you might want a divorce.

How do you do that?

Sometimes, the best way to find the answer to a question, particularly a huge “change-your-life-forever” question, is to start by asking yourself more questions. (Yes, I know it sounds crazy. Stay with me here. This actually works.)

Here are 18 questions you can ask yourself to help you figure out whether and when you should divorce. (HINT: It will also help if you physically write down your answers to the questions!)

18 Questions to Help Decide If It’s Time to Divorce

Two white cups with "I love you" on them. One is shattered, signifying domestic violence

1. Is your spouse physically abusive?

If the answer to this question is “yes,” then you’ve already answered the question of whether you should get a divorce. Now, you’ve just got to figure out how you can safely do it as soon as possible.

2. Is your relationship toxic?

Toxic relationships may not be physically abusive, but they are mentally and emotionally abusive. If your relationship with your spouse is so bad that it is toxic, then you need to either get professional help to turn it around, or get ready to walk away. Now. 

3. Is your spouse having an affair that s/he refuses to end?

Unless you are willing to have an open marriage,  you and your spouse both need to stop seeing other people and focus on each other. If your spouse isn’t willing to do that, you may need to end your marriage sooner rather than later. 

4. Have you done everything you can to try to save your marriage?

If, like most people, you take your marriage vows seriously, you are going to want to make sure you tried everything you could to save your marriage before you get divorced. Otherwise, you may find yourself regretting your decision later. (Not to mention that you will be dealing with mountains of guilt, then, too.)

Frustrated couple going through marriage counseling with a therapist.

5. Have you tried marriage counseling?

Marriage counseling is not a magic bullet that saves every marriage, but getting professional help can often make an enormous difference in your marriage. If you haven’t tried marriage counseling, you haven’t tried everything. (Unless, of course, your spouse won’t go. In that case, getting individual counseling for yourself can be a Godsend … at least for you!) 

6. Do you know in your heart that your marriage is over?

Sometimes, you just KNOW. If, deep down, you know your marriage is over, then give yourself permission to end it now. You don’t have to spend the next 10 years proving to yourself that you were right. Do what you need to do, and do it as soon as possible. 

7. Do you find yourself thinking about divorce a lot?

Happily married people don’t spend a ton of time thinking about divorce. If you do, that may be a sign that you are already leaning toward divorce, and may be ready to move forward sooner rather than later. 

8. Are you ready to divorce?

While you will never be 100% prepared for divorce, you will make your life much easier if you prepare yourself before you pull the plug on your marriage. Make sure you have some kind of a plan for where you will live, and how you will support yourself. Educate yourself. Organize yourself. Get copies of your financial documents. Talk to an attorney. Prepare yourself as much as possible for the storm that’s about to come. 

Hole ripped in a dollar bill with Divorce text. Can you afford to divorce?

9. Can you afford to get divorced?

How are you going to pay for your divorce? Do you need to save some money first, before you start your divorce? Can you borrow some money from someone?  Are you willing to do some of the legwork in your divorce yourself to save money? If so, what have you done so far to prepare yourself for divorce? (See Question #8.) 

10. Are your kids stable?

If your kids are already going through a tough time in their lives, if they are acting out, doing drugs, or behaving badly in school, you may want to wait until they are stable before you start your divorce. 

11. Is your spouse physically sick?

If your spouse is recovering from an illness or an injury, you may want to maintain the status quo until your spouse is back on his/her feet. (Most people feel horribly guilty for leaving an ailing spouse.) On the other hand, if your spouse is chronically ill, you may not want (or be able) to wait until s/he recovers. In that case, you may want to plan more before you divorce. You are definitely going to want to talk to a lawyer and take a realistic look at your finances before you do anything else. 

12. Does your spouse have a job?

Filing for divorce right after your spouse has lost his/her job is generally not a great financial decision. If your spouse is usually employed but doesn’t have a job at the moment, you might want to wait until s/he is working again. (Of course, if your spouse is chronically unemployed, waiting for him/her to find a job could mean you stay married forever. That may not be your best option.) 

13. Are there financial reasons for getting divorced now?

If your spouse doesn’t always have a job, but s/he is employed right now, then moving forward now might make financial sense. If your elderly parents are in ill health and may die soon, leaving you a big inheritance, getting divorced now will make that money a non-issue in your divorce. (Yes, you can keep it separate even if you are still married, but this is simpler.)

14. Are there financial reasons for waiting to get divorced?

If you plan on retiring next year, getting divorced this year may not be in your financial best interest. (Or, it may delay your retirement.) I know this sounds cold and calculating. Maybe it is. But unless you are a Rockefeller, it makes sense to know the financial effect of whatever decision you make before you make it. 

Black room with a light streaming in from a far door with a hand pointing to the door.

15. What will you give up if you don’t get divorced now?

What dreams are you delaying because you are staying married? If you have already decided to get divorced, but you don’t move forward this year (for whatever reason) what won’t you be able to do? 

16. Are there solid reasons to wait to get divorced until some time in the future?

This is the flip-side of Question #15. Maybe one of your kids is getting married, and their wedding would be much easier if you and your spouse were together. Or maybe there are other reasons why delaying your decision to divorce makes sense.

17. Can you handle staying married for another year?

If you are ready to get divorced now but are afraid to pull the trigger, what will it cost you in time, energy, money, vitality, and self-esteem to stay in a marriage that’s over? More importantly, can you make it through another year without exploding and making everything worse?

18. Are there legal reasons for divorcing now or later?

Depending upon where you live, when you get divorced might matter. Certain states have maintenance/alimony formulas that are based in part upon how long you have been married. Talk to a divorce lawyer in your area to find out whether there are any legal ramifications of divorcing now or later.

The Illusion of Finding the “Perfect” Time

There will never be a perfect time to divorce. You will never be totally comfortable with your decision. You will always have some doubts about whether you are doing the right thing. That’s normal.

But, if you know in your heart that you should get divorced, yet you find yourself unable to move forward because you’re waiting for the “right time” to do it, remember this much: putting off your decision IS a decision.

When is the right time for you to divorce? Answer these questions. Then you tell me.

____________

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  • have been married for 12 years he has filed twice and me once for divorce. I quit my very stable job of 15 years to go work at his business and low and behold he was a tyrant at work criticized me on a daily basis and it was making me sick and I would cry while there scared of what was gonna happen when he got back to the office.this is s short version of our marriage. now he says he wants a divorce and that I have made him miserable from day one….how cruel. why in the hell would I want to stay in this? I do and its crazy he has told me thru the years that I was nothing when he met me and still am nothing. my kids have never liked him and still don’t and has been a chronic problem. they are grown and gone now. I have a always kept my kids life separate from him because he never ever really accepted him because they never accepted him.i need some advice.please

    • Since you asked for advice, I will do my best. But, before I start, I have to warn you that you may not like what I have to say.

      You have filed for divorce once, and he has done it twice. Now he wants to file again. Your kids don’t like this man, and, interestingly, you didn’t say you did either! (You also won’t find the word “love in your question either.)

      So, why are you staying with this man? I don’t know. You certainly didn’t write anything good about him or your marriage. My guess is that you are staying with him because you are afraid to leave. You are afraid of the future. You are afraid of how you will survive now that you don’t have your stable job. You are afraid.

      Unfortunately, the only way to get past your fear is to walk through it.

      I strongly suggest you start seeing a therapist. You need to ask yourself why you are staying in a relationship in which your spouse treats you so badly. Can you work through this yourself? Maybe. But a therapist can help you figure out what is really holding you back. S/he can also help you realize that you deserve so much better. Once you do, you will find the power inside of yourself to do what you know is right.

      Good luck.

      Karen

    • Since you asked for advice, I will do my best. But, before I start, I have to warn you that you may not like what I have to say.

      You have filed for divorce once, and he has done it twice. Now he wants to file again. Your kids don’t like this man, and, interestingly, you didn’t say you did either! (You also won’t find the word “love in your question either.)

      So, why are you staying with this man? I don’t know. You certainly didn’t write anything good about him or your marriage. My guess is that you are staying with him because you are afraid to leave. You are afraid of the future. You are afraid of how you will survive now that you don’t have your stable job. You are afraid.

      Unfortunately, the only way to get past your fear is to walk through it.

      I strongly suggest you start seeing a therapist. You need to ask yourself why you are staying in a relationship in which your spouse treats you so badly. Can you work through this yourself? Maybe. But a therapist can help you figure out what is really holding you back. S/he can also help you realize that you deserve so much better. Once you do, you will find the power inside of yourself to do what you know is right.

      Good luck.

      Karen

      • I am so glad I read your reply. I did not know why I stay with my husband. You broke it down clearly. I am afraid, of what that future will hold without him. Even though the future with him is dire. Now that I realize it is “fear”, that is something I can focus on and understand. Bless you, A.L.K

  • How do you define “have you tried everything” when it comes to divorce? Everyone’s definition is different. Is there a specific “everything”?

    • You’re right. Everyone’s definition of “doing everything to save your marriage” is different.

      I define “doing everything” as doing everything that you need to do to satisfy yourself that your marriage can not be saved before you decide to divorce. It also means doing whatever you have to do to be truly at peace with your decision to divorce.

      The truth, though, is that how I define “doing everything to save your marriage” doesn’t matter. It’s how you define it that counts.

  • I’ve been with my husband for 11 years. In the beginning he was soft, apologetic but at the same time due to his upbringing, he used to swear at me. Within the early stages of our relationship I used to cry when he used to swear at me, but then he would come and apologise and be soft and kind.
    Now, 11 Year’s later, I’ve adapted to him. When we argue he swears I swear and we are a bunch of uneducated idiots whom the neighbours hear it! It happens very often! I come from a stable family, have never heard my parents argue or swear. Now, after an argument, following on from sharing abusing words, I always think to myself, how did you get here! How did you get into this messed up uneducated relationship. For a few years have always thought this relationship is not right for me .. but never had the courage to leave as my husband would cry and say he’d change.
    We now have a 6 month old Baby and intimacy is non existent. I am always so tired, yet I try to cook and clean and look after Baby. My husband has also changed. He has now started calling me fat, bad mum and bad wife. When I then cry he come and says sorry! It’s always how it’s been! I have been thinking of moving on, but I just don’t know how! I know I am better than this and I deserve better. But I am always stuck! I am always hoping he will change. I still care deeply for him which is why I think I hold onto the hope that he will change, but then the abusive arguments return. I feel sofocated but scared that I am making the wrong decision of divorcing. I know the importance a father has, and I want my child to experience a solid family like I did.
    In a way, deep down, I believe I am waiting for my breaking point to make the decision, knowing that when I will really hate him I will definitely divorce. We are going to couples Councelling but we just always end up arguing at each session. I just want to be happy, I’d wish I would be happy with him, but deep down I know I won’t be if he doesn’t change. I know he won’t change, so why am I holding into this hope? I just want to be happy and be treated better. for sure there aught to be someone out there that I can love!

    • It sounds like you are going through a really hard time right now. With a new baby who is probably keeping you up at night, and a husband who is verbally abusing you, it’s no wonder you’re thinking about divorce! You’re exhausted!

      It’s great that you are going to couples counseling. Have you considered going to individual therapy as well? It can really help you put things in perspective and get clear about what you want to do.

      I don’t know if you know it, but the behavior you are describing is fairly classic abusive behavior. While it’s good that the abuse isn’t physical, verbal abuse can be devastating, too. The more you can get help understanding your relationship, the better equipped you will be to change your own behavior and thereby change the relationship itself.

      There’s a saying that, in relationships, we get what we tolerate. I don’t mean to be tough on you, but by always going back to your husband when he apologizes and cries, you are unwittingly showing him that his behavior is acceptable to you. If you want to change your marriage, you have to start by changing yourself. You have to change what you will tolerate.

      Please understand, I am not saying in any way that you are responsible for your husband’s behavior, or his verbal abuse. You are not. But you are responsible for whether you allow yourself to be treated badly and put up with the abuse.

      All of this is why I suggested that you might want to find an individual counselor to work with, preferably someone who is experienced in working with victims of abuse.

      Finally, I just want to assure you that, change is possible. You can be in a relationship where you are treated better. If your husband changes, you may be able to have that kind of relationship with him. If not, then you may get to your breaking point, as you said. But, I encourage you to do the work to find out whether you can make your marriage work. Don’t just let things go until you explode! That will definitely doom your marriage.

      Stay strong. Get help. Hang in there! If you really want it, and you are willing to work to get it, you can have the relationship you really want. Time will tell whether you will find that kind of relationship with your husband or whether you will end up getting divorced and finding it with someone else.

      Best.

      Karen

  • I’m so tired from years of verbal/emotional abuse. He used to keep it at home, but now he’s doing it in front of others, family & friends, & I’m so done with it. Just last night he belittled me in front of my aunt & uncle at a family celebration. The room was silent until he left & my aunt quickly changed the subject. I’ve brought it up to him, but he denies it completely and always turns issues back on me. I listen to him, but all he does is lecture me like a child. He’s a dark cloud in the home. He hardly looks at me or talks to me. He gives little positive reinforcement to the kids. After 13 years, he’s just become a different person because of extreme stress at work & financial issues. We are Christians and I took my vows before the Lord seriously, never imagining I would some day be considering divorce. I just can’t imagine doing it. So many would be shocked and hurt by it – family, friends, friends with families we get together with, acquaintances at church, our pastor we know personally, etc… I have obviously thought about not doing it for this and also the kids’ sake, but our 11-y-o daughter sees how he is toward me. Our 4 y-o boy obviously is oblivious. I come from a broken home, and I’ve been just fine my whole life because my parents were never ugly to each other in front of me. I didn’t suffer because of it, and I know my children don’t have to as long as my husband and I handle it right. I’m at a point to where I just don’t want to be with him anymore. I want to be treated like a lady, nicely, respectfully by a man again, and I don’t think he ever will… We did briefly discuss divorce in June, both admitting we have a loveless marriage, but we’re trying to make it work. It’s just not happening, though.

    • I can hear how torn you are! I believe you took your marriage vows seriously and I know you don’t want to divorce for your kids’ sake. But, your situation certainly doesn’t seem happy.

      I know you are trying to make your marriage work. But, it doesn’t seem to be working. You’ve said that yourself. So, why are you holding on?

      I can understand being worried about what others will say, but with your husband behaving the way he has been in front of your friends and family, would they really be so surprised? Even if they are, does it matter? They’re not living your life. They have no right to judge you. Plus, as you said yourself, your parents are divorced. You also didn’t suffer because of it. So, you know that, if you and your husband work on putting your kids first, they don’t have to suffer either.

      The sad truth is that getting divorced is never easy. There is no “good time” to get a divorce. It’s going to be hard no matter when you do it! But, just because it’s going to be hard, that doesn’t mean that it’s not worth it.

      Trying everything you know to save your marriage is important. But, you’ve done that. Nothing has worked.

      Knowing when you’re clinging to something that is already gone is also important. Setting an example for your kids that you can be proud of is important.

      I know this is hard for you. But I’m confident you will make the best decision for everyone involved, even if it’s hard.

      Best,
      Karen

    • Hi Karen,
      I’m in need of some advices here. I’ve been married for 8 years will be 9 years next month. I got married young (at age 18 and my husband age 20) I would say the start of my marriage was very rocky and still rocky. We got married after 3 months of dating due to the fact that I got pregnant. He would always be out and about. Drinking and partying with his friends or cousins, leaving me at home with my in laws. I forgot to mention I come from a cultural background where once married the girl has to go and live with the man and his family. The fact that I moved to a place where I knew no one and had no friends I felt very alone. He would be very mean to me and say very mean things to me. Although he don’t physically abuse me you can say he verbally and emtionally do it. Unfortunately, our 1st baby (girl) had complications so we had terminate the pregnancy at almost 19 weeks. We had to travel to a larger city to get it done since we lived in a smaller town. I remember when we got there it was in the afternoon and he had a cousin who lived in town so he told me he wanted to go and “visit” him Which turned out to be a all night thing. He pretty much left me at the hospital myself and went to get drunk with this cousin. I was in so much pain so I called him and only got an answer
      of “I’ll be there in 1 hr” which never happened. I was going through so much pain and I’ve felt like a part of me is gone. I thought that as a married couple and my husband we would get through this together but right after the day of operation that night he went back to partying and drinking with his cousins again. Staying out late and coming home whenever he felt like it. I cried every night. I had to go through the pain of losing my baby all myself and it left a big scar. I told tell him how I felt but all I get was a “sorry” and he told me he is also going through a hard time so thats the reason why he’s out about partying so it will lessen his pain. But what about me? Im also going through a lot but whose here to help me cope with my pain? No one. I was so lost and alone. I felt like he simply abandoned me. The next following year I got pregnant again with our son. After I gave birth to my son (1 week) my husband went to jail for almost 1 month because he had 3 DWI. So through out our first 2 and a half years of marriage It was a series of couple jail time for him and me always by myself (still just mostly me and the kids now). I’m still stunned to this day that I was able to be so patient with him than and loved him while he did and made me feel so much pain. Now after 5 years later, 3 kids and one on the way my biggest issue with my husband is that he never has time for me or the kids. It’s always been like that since day 1. I’ve let him known for years and we have talked about it but everytime it’s always a “I’ll try” or a “We don’t have anything that we like in common”. I have suggested that we both go find something new for us to do but he always replies with a “uhhh no.” It’s to the point where I feel like begging him for his attention and time has made me feel lesser about my self. Why do I always have to ask him to make time for me and his kids? Does he even love me? Am I not worthy enough for him? Am I boring? All these questions I asked myself everyday. I eats away at my self worth. We don’t have date nights either nor does he celebrate any holidays with me, not even birthdays. But if his cousins has a birthday he goes and drink with them for hours. Whenever I ask him about it he always goes “well at least I’m not throwing them one they are the one whose doing it I’m just there.” He thinks that we are spending time together when we are in the same room, him on his phone or playing games and me watching the kids or using my phone. Now that I’m expecting again and a stay at home mom he has to put in more OT at work. So I feel like he uses his work and the “I need sleep” as an excuse to not have time with us. But when it comes to bowling with the guys or hanging out with them he has all the time in the world. He truly make me feel like an option not a priority. He barely interacts with out oldest son (7 years old), interacts a bit our daughter (4) and interacts the most with our 1 year old maybe at most 1hr, it varies. We have gotten into so many arguments lately. We would be good for about most 2 weeks and then it goes right back to arguments. Mainly because now my patient with him is thinning and I’m starting to not give a sh** anymore. The way he speaks and how he uses his mean words are what gets me heated. He had always call me stupid or brainless from day 1, even when he knows it hurts me and I don’t like it. Sometimes when I make a statement about paying bills or about something its always “Are you stupid or what?” “You’re so stupid. Do you not have a brain?” “Its common sense.” and when we argume its always a “if you don’t like it leave! I’m not stopping you.” I’m a full time expecting mom so I take care of the kids all the time even on the weekends. I do all the housework, cook the meals, do homework and when he comes home from work I have to cater to his needs. I feel like I barely have any time to myself. I’m tired, exhausted but I don’t even have time to rest or relax. I let him know I need sometime to myself so you need to help me watch kids but he’s always like “I can’t, I need sleep I have work.” His days (when he doesn’t go bowling) consist of waking up to work (when he does OT he wakes up at 2am) coming home (2:30pm), eat, plays with our 1yr old sometimes 10-15mins and goes straight to bed use his phone till his falls asleep. After 8 years of begging for his time I realized I’m not gonna get it. I have been thinking about divorce for a while now but I’m just scared of the unknown future. Am I making the right decision? My parents are also against divorce since in our culture their belief is “if you’re divorced you’re automatically labeled as bad esp if you are a women.” They would rather save face and not be the talk of town than have their daughter come back because it is embarrassing to be divorced. Women also have to listen to their husbands. We are inferior to them. I have told my mom about my decision to go back and she told me “my reasons are only a small matter as long as he don’t cheat or beat you. Just be patient and stay in the marriage.” So I’m at wits end. I love my husband so much! But I feel like I’ve been hurt enough by him also. Mainly my marriage has been with tears. But why am I still here? When he constantly tells me to leave? Right now we are currently looking for a new place at the moment because our lease is ending. Just two days ago we got into another arguement because his uncle comes over all the time and smoke illegal stuff in our garage and it stinks up the basement. I let my husband know that if we move out to a house I’m not gonna let his uncle come anymore because it’s not safe and I don’t like it. But he kept saying its fine. I told him no and he yelled at me saying “fine then you go look for your own place and I’ll go look for my own place.” *Sigh* Its not the first time he said that. I’m broken and sad. He would put his uncle before me. He always put others feelings before me. He would rather have me be disappointed and mad at him than his family or friends. Theres so much more but if I write anymore its going to turn into a book so i’ll just write this much. I admit I’m scared. I fear what I don’t know is going to happen and plus the very fact that because I love this man so much. I don’t know. My guts tell me I have to leave but my heart still loves him. It’s so hard.
      Thanks for listening.

      • I know this may sound horribly unromantic, but love is not enough to sustain a marriage. If you don’t have common values, and if both you and your husband don’t value each other AND value the marriage, your marriage isn’t going to work well. (Sorry!)

        Before you do anything, you’ve got to work on yourself. You’ve got to be crystal clear on what you want, and what you’re willing to do to get it. If you do decide to divorce, not only will you have to deal with your husband, but it also sounds like you will be dealing with disapproving parents, and ostracism from others in your social groups. That’s why you’ve got to get yourself as strong as you can before you do anything else. The interesting thing is that, once you do become stronger, he will feel that strength. And that changes everything. Once he can’t bully you any more, he may suddenly become more interested in treating you better and working things out. (Whether that will appeal to you by then, who knows?)

        Another thing you need to do is to get yourself some help. You can’t do anything if you can’t think clearly. And you can’t think clearly if you’re up taking care of the kids around the clock and are exhausted and sleep deprived. See if you can find a way to get some time for yourself every single day. See if your parents will help you with the kids. Join a support group, or find friends to go out with for coffee once in a while. And definitely get yourself a counselor.

        Finally, know that changing your situation is going to take time. Be patient with yourself. Be kind to yourself. Take care of yourself. You deserve it!

        Best,

        Karen

        • I’ve been married for 20 years my husband is a drunk and he does drugs. I have asked him to get help but he want. I use to stay at home all the time but now I can’t stand to be around him when he is drinking. My can’t stand it neither. We had 4 kids 21,18,16,and 7. They want me to leave because they r tired of seeing me this a way. He tells me he going to change but he never do. He drinks every day. I’ve told him if he do not get it together I’m leaving. I don’t think he believes me.

          • Dealing with a husband who is an alcoholic and a drug addict is rough! Getting the courage to leave, and getting past the guilt that’s stopping you is rough. You need help.

            I strongly suggest you check out Al-Anon. It’s an organization that helps family members of alcoholics and addicts deal with what’s going on. I also suggest you find yourself a good therapist near you. S/he can help you build your courage and your resources so that you can do what you know you need to do.

            Hope this helps.

            Best,

            Karen

          • I can relate to you my husband is a happy alcoholic he doesn’t get mean just simply annoying we have been together over twenty years as well two older kids two younger kids he try’s real hard to stop but can’t it’s getting old he blames me saying I have emotional problems or whatever thinks I’m crazy cause I’m always looking for him cause he hides it from me I’ve now been doing some soul searching myself but I’m depressed quit my job because it was toxic and so he thinks that’s why I’ve finally have had enough is coming from that I’m board now but honesty he’s stop giving affection it comes and goes it’s like to me he pretends to care about what I’m going through but it feels fake to me I to don’t know where my marriage will end up being a Christian and I don’t want to be alone but I’m stuck in this situation everyday one day is great then next day sucks it’s not like he’s sloppy drunk all time he keeps a job he’s a good man but we are falling apart and he does not care to help fix anything anymore he says .

        • Hello, Searching for some advice. I’ve been married for 32 yrs have 2 beautiful grown kids. Ones works hard and the other service our country in the USMC. I love my husband with my whole heart but last Monday was a breaking point in our marriage. We were separated 20yrs ago because of his excessive drinking and anger. Which put me and the kids in a extremely hostile living environment! With him punching holes in the hallway walls. That’s why we got out when we did! I got me and the kids a 2 bedroom 2 bath apartment all by myself. And all our friends helped me move into as well, because they knew the situation. So I met new friends when we were separated, our kids were with me all the time. So I went to Seattle for a football ball game, nothing happened if you wanted to know, better yet I realized it was a mistake and wanted to come home. All he wants to talk about the past is nonsense, we were separated for half a yr. nothing happened then, because the kids were with me and they know nothing happened. And yes I’ve let both of the kids know he wants to live in the past and they also remember! So since he has been caught again and I’m at my last tread. So what ever he’s telling everyone is Fake News.

          We moved to WA state 32 ago, my parents are starting to slow down and my dad has difficulty getting around. My husband told me to find a job in Tx and go be with you parents while you can. He didn’t have the chance to do that because of being so far away. So we both talked about it and I got a job immediately and headed tyTx. He said he would work hard to find a job and I feel I have put more effort into this job search then he has. To this day he still has not found a job yet and it’s been 18 months. Yes we have flown back and forth to see each other. But lately it’s been difficult seeing what has been coming through our email and what’s coming through on his cell phone bill. I know I’ve allowed his behavior to happen and feel like I’m just as guilty for not putting a serious stop to all this. The real problem and real concern is his drinking problem and this obsession with sex! I’ve lost track over the last many many many 20 years. On how many times I’ve had to cry at nights wondering why you would even think to want to email, text, meet up, flirt with, lie, go to women’s houses and now he has invite these people (women) to OUR house! But when He gets caught in his dirty, sick, Sextexting, addiction he is so sorry it happened , it won’t happen again, please forgive me, or it was a joke. And the next day it’s like nothing ever happened! It will never stop! That behavior is a kind of affair and is not a healthy marriage. So the real reason why we are in this situation is because of the actions he took knowing the consequences and all the warnings I’ve given you if it ever happened again I done. Well this time is the breaking point and it’s hard to swallow my words when ya love him so much. So confused if I need to show him I mean business by filling for divorce or keep going on until the next time. Thanks for listening. L.

          • You clearly have a lot going on! I STRONGLY suggest you get a good therapist as soon as possible. Trying to deal with all of those issues on your own is too much. You could use someone to talk to about all of this.

            I can understand that you love your husband. But just because you love him doesn’t mean that you want to continue living with him and his addictions.

            So, step #1: Get a therapist. After you do that, you will get clearer about what your next step should be.

            Best,

            Karen

            PS Only file for divorce if you really want a divorce. Filing for a divorce to “show your husband you mean business” is a bad idea.

  • My husband and I have been married for 6 years, together 9 years total. We purchased our home 4 1/2 years ago and it seems since then, our marriage has been on a bumpy road. We also suffer from unexplained infertility of 8 years and that alone has put a huge toll on our marriage. I am just so lost. We are currently on a “break”, but we have had “breaks” in the past and things go good for a while, but then they eventually get worse again. I want this break to be our last, but I just don’t know how or where to begin to start. We use to agree on many things, but now it seems we are on opposite pages. Neither of us would be interested in couple’s counseling as our work schedules are completely opposite. Not to mention, he is over an hour away since we are on a break. We are both on the same page as to saving our marriage, but how do we continue to be in a healthy relationship? The infertility is our biggest issue along with owning a fixer upper which comes with many remodeling/upgrading projects.

    • You’ve definitely got a lot on your plate!

      Dealing with infertility can take a toll on the strongest marriage. I really feel for you. Plus, having dealt with living in construction myself, I know how hard it can be! Neither of those difficult situations are insurmountable. But they can make life difficult.

      First let me start with an observation. You said you want this break to be your last. But you didn’t say whether you want it to be your last break because your marriage is so strong that you don’t need another break. Or, will it be your last break because if you can’t put your marriage back together you just can’t do this again? I guess that’s something to think about.

      Later you wrote that you want to save your marriage, so I’ll assume that’s what you’re looking to do. Unfortunately, saving your marriage when you have opposite work schedules, live an hour away from each other and don’t agree on anything, is going to be challenging beyond words! Can you do it? Yes. I truly believe that, if BOTH of you want to save your marriage you’ll find a way to do that. But, the question is whether both of you really, really want to do that.

      Maybe you’re together more often than it seems from what you wrote. Maybe you talk multiple times a day. Maybe you love each other with your whole hearts. I don’t know. But, you might want to ask yourself, with all of the scheduling and geographic boundaries you’ve both imposed on this relationship, how committed are both of you to saving your marriage? (It’s just a question.)

      I’d also wonder about the house. If it’s destroying your marriage, are you willing to sell the house to save your marriage? Obviously, I’m not saying you have to do that, or that you should do that. But would you be willing to do that if it could end your marital “breaks?” As for the infertility, I’m sure you’ve also considered adoption. Are you both on the same page about that? If not, is one of you willing to either adopt even though you’re not crazy about the idea, or live without ever having children?

      All of this is to say that, while I can see that you want to save your marriage, there’s more at issue here than just your marriage. You might want to consider ALL of these questions and more. Understanding your honest answers to these questions might help you get clearer on what you and your husband really want and what you’re willing to do to get it.

      Best.

      Karen

      PS You might also want to check out my article on Discernment Counseling. It’s not marriage counseling. It’s limited scope counseling designed to help you decide whether you both want to save your marriage or end it.

  • My husband and I have been married for almost 15yrs and together 20yrs. I meet my husband in high school and we are high school sweetheart. I have only been with my husband and my husband had 2 relationships prior to meeting me. We have 3 kids together (12, 4, and 2). I recently found out my husband cheated on me. He lied about going on an international work trip for two weeks. My husband travels a lot for work so I didn’t suspect anything. I found concrete evidence and I confronted him and he told me everything. He slept with a prostitute and had a affair with a girl he meet at a bar. He partied with the girl for one week every night at the bar. They went drinking and he claimed he was butt drink every night. He had sex with the girl twice. He claims he just wanted to have fun and the girls means nothing to him. I’m sure he going through a mid life crisis. He just turned 40yrs old a month ago. He’s now telling me he won’t change and had the time if his life parting and drinking. He said he has no desire to cheat in the states and he’s 100% with his family but he would like to travel internationally and have his fun. He said he’s getting older and doesn’t tell he had fun in youth since we dated so young. He doesn’t want to live with regret. I’m floored at his behaviors and comment. I’m already dealing with his infidelity and now I have to deal with his mid life crisis and the fact that he won’t change and wants to continue to live his double life. He gave me two options, divorce or open marriage. We have 3 kids together and I love this man deeply. He’s was my best friend and soul mate. I don’t know what to do. He telling me he love me only and just fun with no emotions for the other girls. He wants the thrill and excitement with the other girls. And he said there’s no communication with them afterwards but the thought of him sleeping with other girls are making me sick to my stomach. I’m very bitter and angry at what he did to me and our family. I’ve been trying to convince him he will regret leaving his family for his single life. He said he’s willing to take the chance. I don’t know what to do. I don’t want a divorce but I can’t accept and open marriage. Please help.

    • Oh my! Where to start?

      Okay, first of all, you are not only feeling sick to your stomach, but your husband’s behavior can make you physically sick in other ways too. By sleeping with prostitutes and other women he is putting your health at risk. So, before you do anything else, you might want to check things out and make sure you use proper protection if you’re continuing to sleep with your husband. (Sorry. I hate to have to say that, but the last thing you need to have to deal with right now is an STD!)

      As for the rest of his behavior, you have a choice. You either accept it, or you don’t. If you can’t accept an open marriage (and I don’t blame you one bit for that! I wouldn’t want that for myself either) then you’ve got to figure out how you are going to deal with your husband’s behavior.

      I understand that you love him. I know he says he loves you, too. But, quite frankly, I don’t buy it.

      If he loved you, he would have talked to you about his desires for an open marriage BEFORE he slept with someone else. He would not have hidden his affair.

      If he loved you, he wouldn’t want to hurt you. He would respect your feelings and wouldn’t just tell you that he won’t change and that you have to accept an open marriage or divorce him.

      I know that you don’t want to divorce him. But it’s time you decided what you DO want.

      Do you want to live in an open marriage? What will that do to your soul? … to your kids? Are you willing to stay married to someone who doesn’t respect you or your feelings? Are you willing to either give up sex, or risk catching something from your husband?

      Yes, I know. You want things to go back to the way they were. I’m sorry to have to tell you, but you don’t get that choice. Your only option is to move forward. What’s more, you can’t change or control your husband. You can only control yourself.

      Right now you’re dealing with a lot. I strongly suggest you get help. Get a good therapist. If you think it may be worthwhile, and if your husband agrees to go with you, you could also go to couples counseling. I suspect the two of you have a lot of things you can work on. If your husband won’t go, and refuses to work on your marriage, that tells you something, too.

      I know this is all very hard. It hurts. I’m not surprised that you’re angry. Use that anger to take the bull by the horns. Stop trying to convince your husband that he will regret leaving the family. That’s his choice and his issue. You’re not going to change him. Begging him to stay won’t change him. It will only rob you of whatever self-esteem you have left right now.

      Focus instead on yourself and your kids. Figure out what you want, and how you want to live. Start working towards creating that life. Work on yourself. When you do, you will start to grow. You will change. You may be surprised at what you can create.

      The road you’re on won’t be easy. But you will be okay.

      Best.

      Karen

  • My husband and I have been married for almost 15yrs and together 20yrs. I meet my husband in high school and we are high school sweetheart. I have only been with my husband and my husband had 2 relationships prior to meeting me. We have 3 kids together (12, 4, and 2). I recently found out my husband cheated on me. He lied about going on an international work trip for two weeks. My husband travels a lot for work and I never suspected anything. To make matters worst, he told me he won’t stop. He feels life is too short and he doesn’t want to live life with regrets. He display signs of a MLC. He just turn 40yrs old last month. He said he like the thrill, excitement and feeling young again. He tells me he missed out on his youth and just want to have fun. He said they women means nothing to him, no emotions or feelings. I’m already having a hard time dealing with his infidelity and now this. I’m emotional devastated. He also said he has no desire to cheat in the States and only in Asia. He wants an open marriage or divorce. He said to let him go two weeks out of the year to have his fun. I feel this is unacceptable but dispite all the pain he caused me, I still love him deeply. I know I shouldn’t and I want to hate him so much. I don’t want to get a divorce but that means I will have to agree to an open marriage, which I don’t believe in. What should I do?

  • Sorry, I’m so lost that I didn’t realize I posted already. Thank you so much for your reponse. I know deep down inside my husband is gone. I will have to accept it and move on but it’s so much easier to say. I have to be strong for my kids.

  • Hi!
    I have been married for 12 years we have a child 10 years old.I firstly loved him but now I don’t feel like that anymore!
    In all these years he has been lying many times to me especially about money he used to spend on gambling I had no idea of its existence until I discovered it .
    He physically abused me once 8 years ago but I threatened him I will sue him if he would never do it again,it never happened again.
    He has been lying me like “I am not getting paid” for almost two years when he was getting normally paid.
    Or,getting money from our house without letting me know until I could understand on my own.
    He used to tell me he was in a big debt,I borrowed money from my sister so he could pay that “supposed” debt . After that we were supposed to make a new start but after a while same problems.
    I have been paying all the bills for years and simultaneously being psychologically abused as he was pretending to be jealous only to have me under control.
    I tried to work on our marriage for years until I felt I am hurting my self by being all the time angry and unhappy.
    I tried to leave two times but he promised me he will change.
    For a couple of months he would but after that same again.
    When we talk he becomes aggressive and doesn’t accept all the things he has done.
    Lately he has started trying to prevent me from going out even with my sister without “begging “ him first for permission.
    My son heard us many times arguing.
    Three days now I am living to my mom with my son,we left house.
    He is begging me to go back,I don’t want to go back but I feel a kind of compassion for him that makes me feel bad about this.
    How can I make myself feel better with my decision and please tell me is it time to never go back!
    He is still gambling,he is not the good father I was expecting him to be.
    I also feel awful of what people around us will say as my parents also are divorced.

    • Okay, let me make this as plain as I can: DON’T GO BACK!

      It’s great that you have compassion for your husband. But that doesn’t mean you have to spend the rest of your life being a miserable doormat, either!

      The situation you’ve described is not healthy for any of you, least of all your son. If you want to change, and get out of that situation, it is really important that you get help. Otherwise, you’re just going to get sucked back in to an unhealthy situation.

      I strongly suggest you find yourself a good therapist or counselor asap. You need to build your self confidence up. You also are going to want to explore the reasons you’ve stayed in such a horrible situation for so long, and why you’re still willing to go back.

      You also might want to check out Gam-Anon. It’s an organization that helps people whose loved ones gamble too much.

      As far as what the people around you will say if you get divorced, all I can say is, “Let it go!” What other people think about you is their business, not yours. Your true friends will stand by you. Everyone else will leave. Honestly, that’s not a big loss. As some wise person once said, “People will judge you no matter what you do. So, you might as well do what you want.”

      I know this isn’t easy for you. But you can make it through! Deep inside, you know what you need to do. You don’t need me to tell you.

      Best.

      Karen

  • I have been thinking to get divorced but I am afraid to do so. I have been married for almost 9 years and we have a four years old son. My husband is very insensitive and overtime he lacks interest in me. He never initiated sex for a few years already. I am just afraid the consequences to our son and my life has to start all over again.

    • I can understand your fear. Divorce is full of change. That’s scary.

      Plus, divorce doesn’t come with a guarantee about how things will work out for you. But then, neither does the life you are living now.

      Here is an article that might help you: 9 Tips for Managing Your Fear of Divorce. Also, like the article suggests, getting a professional you can talk to about this can help a lot.

      I wish you the best.

      Karen

  • At the current time I am the only one in the household with serious income. My husband has not had a real job in 4 months and does not seem interested in finding one. Before that he went through 3 jobs in 6 months. The reason I say all that is when my husband and I have discussed divorce before (for a multitude of reasons) he has said that hes not going to leave the house because we used his VA loan to get it. I’m fine with leaving the house but the loan company won’t be willing to take my name off the loan since I am the only one with income. I don’t want to pay for a house that I’m not living in. What is the best way to legally navigate this situation?

    • Unfortunately, I can’ answer legal questions online or outside the state of Illinois. As a general suggestion, though, you might want to talk to a mortgage broker. If your husband can refinance the existing loan in his name alone, that will get your name off the mortgage. Of course, it won’t be easy for him to get a loan if he’s unemployed. But, if he could get someone (other than you!) to co-sign the loan with him, that could be an option.

      Sorry I couldn’t be more helpful.

      Karen

  • Hi Karen.
    My husband and I have been together for 3 years and only married a year in those 3. I’m currently struggling with if we should divorce or not. Our relationship had a really rocky beginning. We had only been dating two months when I got pregnant with our first baby. We moved in together two months later. Within the first year of living together he has cheated on me 3 separate times. Before we were together I had a no tolerance policy on cheating but I decided to stay for the sake of the baby. The following year we had our baby in New Years and I was focused in on how happy it made me. Within a few months he flirted with another girl and I caught it when he left his phone home. I wanted to let his boss know to tell him he left his phone at home and when I went looking for the number I found texts to another girl. When my husband got home he flipped out on me for “snooping” through his cell. I called him out on the cheating and he turned it on me claiming I cheated on him with his brother when his brother sexually harassed me.
    There were other times in our relationship where he had gotten mad and punched a hole in our wall or snapped at me. One instance I tried to go for a walk and as I stepped out the door he threw me back into the apartment. There were other times I’ve tried to leave the house where he’d tackle me and sit on me or hold me down and refuse to let me up. There was one day where I ultimately snapped after everything and I started to attack him, thought better of it and he’d immediately hurt me back (he almost broke my arms when I decided otherwise on hurting him).
    We currently have 2 kids right now (2yr old and 1yr old). I’m not divorcing currently because of the kids and I’m a stay at home mom. I can say that he is a great dad. He hasn’t done the kids wrong. But as far as being a husband he just isn’t great. He stopped cheating as far as I know but I am paranoid that it will just happen again. I need advice.

    • I’m not surprised that you’re paranoid that he will cheat again. I also wouldn’t be surprised if you were worried that he will get phsyically violent with you again.

      You said your relationship started off rocky. It sounds like it has stayed rocky all along. Is that the kind of relationship that you want? Is that the kind of marriage that you want?

      You said you are staying with your husband for the kids. What are you teaching the kids about marriage by letting your husband treat you the way that he is? Just because things might be a little bit better at the moment doesn’t mean that they will stay that way. Given your history, unless the two of you get help, things will very likely end up going back to where they were. Actually, they will probably get worse. (Sorry! I could be wrong. But I’ve seen this happen a lot.)

      I strongly suggest you consider talking with a counselor. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to check out a domestic violence group in your area. You are not the only person to have to deal with this kind of behavior. Talking to others will help you realize the patterns in your husband’s behavior (yes, there are patterns!). It will help you understand what’s happening to you and give you options for dealing with it.

      Know too that you don’t HAVE to do anything. You don’t have to stay and tolerate this kind of treatment. You also don’t have to leave. Talking to a counselor or getting help from a support group will not force you to do anything. It will just help you understand your options and know you are not alone. Right now, just that much will be huge.

      I wish you the best.

      Karen

  • It was appreciated when you said that happily married people do not think about having a divorce, so if the person finds themselves thinking about it a lot, then that is a serious red flag. If that is the case, then I will see to it that I file a divorce with my wife as soon as I can. I’ll find myself an attorney to help me. I cannot say that I am no longer happy, though there are a lot of things that I am considering and realized that I need to end it.

    • Im a middle aged guy professional Im in a marriage of 18 years to a woman that works part/time but spends full time. Financial burden is enormous Almost double my yearly salary in credit card debt That only seems to grow over the years & after pleading w her to cut back & work more has not done either but always has an excuse for both happening in our shared life w two teen children. She and I have not had sex for over 3 full years & partially b/c of this & general stress of living in debt I had an affair that she soon discovered & it ended abruptly but did major damage to her ( lost trust-always suspicious wanting me to stay home and not go out. ) & for our teen boy & girl.. Balancing a too expensive lifestyle while trying to give the air of well be ok for family & friends- a pretense. All the trappings of suburbia life…w/ none of the earnings to pay for an addictive & non-responsible life.
      So I can understand your advice to try everything you can and I’m trying to get us financial help. We are in weekly Marriage counseling sessions but I’m very unhappy and I know she’s disappointed and hurt and unhappy to we’ve just been very incompatible catchy but with our massive debt we may have to declare bankruptcy another large stress on top of everything you mentioned
      I’m really really trying I’m reading articles talking to friends meeting with bankers my therapist etc. I just don’t know if it’s enough and I don’t know if this marriage can be saved
      so the question is … is this a bad time to separate ie. possible divorce?

      • Oh my! You certainly have a lot on your shoulders! I can totally understand why you’re so unhappy!

        So, “is this a bad time for you to divorce?” Let me start by saying, #1: There’s never a good time to divorce. No matter what your situation is, getting a divorce is always messy, painful and expensive.

        Secondly, I think you’re asking the wrong question. (Sorry!) Asking whether anything is BAD or GOOD isn’t helpful. That question will keep you spinning forever.

        Asking what you should DO about a situation, or asking what the consequences of will be if you do x, y, or z, however, will likely get you much better results.

        I would suggest that, for right now, you might want to change the question you’re asking yourself. Instead of asking, “Is this a bad time to divorce,” you might want to ask, “What would happen financially if I get a divorce now? What would happen if I wait and get a divorce later?” You might also want to ask, “Do I WANT to get a divorce?” “What would have to happen/change in order for me to feel good about staying married?”

        Asking THOSE questions will start to get you answers that are helpful.

        Hope this helps.

        Karen

  • I’ve been married for 3 years. Together 5. I’ve been considering divorce for about a year now. I’ve nerver really had and relationship to look up to so I’m confused. He has changed to the point of nonreturn. He has put his hands on me a few times but cry and beg for me to stay. My children see that im unhappy. I have 2 and he has 5. He doesnt like to attend family functions with my family who means alot to me. I have no friends because he feels as if they are to permiscuous. He is all i have and the only person i can talk to. I can’t fight the huge sense of loneliness anymore nor to i want my kids to think it’s ok to spend your life so unhappy. I prayed and prayed for answeres but im still so confused because i do love him but i can see a future without him. I’m afraid to be stuck raising 2 kids all by myself. I don’t know what to do.

    • Oh my!

      First of all, it sounds like you really need an objective person to talk about all this with. I STRONGLY suggest you get a therapist. The cost will probably be covered by insurance. Plus, you can just tell your husband that you’re struggling with your own issues (which is true). You never need to tell him exactly what you are talking to the therapist about.

      Also, know that you are not alone. I can understand that you feel lonely. But there are literally hundreds of thousands of people (maybe more) going through a divorce at any given time. You are not the only one who is struggling in an unhappy marriage.

      Finally, know that whether you love someone and whether you can live with someone are two totally different questions.

      Should you leave? I can’t answer that. But I do believe that you know the answer yourself. You may not be ready to find it. But, when you are, you will know what you need to do.

      Believe in yourself.

      Karen

  • I really appreciate I when you said that the parents need to wait until their kids are stable before they process their divorce as the situation might make the condition worse for the kids. What if the main reason why the kids are acting out is that they want their parents to separate? That is what my niece told me when I asked her about the reason why she is being hard on her parents. Maybe we should talk about this even deeper.

  • It was helpful when you said that the person should wait until their spouse is employed again before they file a divorce. You said that wrong timing can be bad for the financial status. I will discuss this with my sister since her husband is currently unemployed. The man has a job though, he just doesn’t have work right now because he took an indefinite leave. This is perfect. Thank you for sharing this.

    • Hello
      I have been married for 14years and have two young children. My husband is a good person and my children are well adjusted. My main problem is that I am not attracted to him whatsoever. I married him because he was a nice guy but I’ve also been disappointed by his general laziness and his difficulties with communicating with me at a deeper level. He has adhd and takes medication but seems absent during conversations no matter how much cueing I give him. I find that I cannot connect with him emotionally and physically I’m not attracted to him. I have initiated many different things like exercising with him, sex toys, porn, trying to focus on his positive attributes, hobbies but now I’m at a point where I cringe if he touches me. I pretend to enjoy sex with him and he definitely finds me attractive but I’m not sure what to do about my lack of attraction towards him. He feels more like a friend or a brother. I have not told him anything because I’m afraid the truth will hurt our marriage more. I fantasize about other men and am tempted to have an affair although I have not been unfaithful yet. I have seen a therapist but it has not been helpful. Should I be open with him and tell him how I feel? How much info is too much? I have no desire to divorce him but would love to take a break and be with other men for a while. Could anything good come out of this approach? Thank you

      • Okay, since you asked for my opinion, I’m going to be honest with you. But I will tell you in advance that this is going to be some “tough love.”

        If you want your marriage to have ANY chance of surviving, you’ve got to start by being honest – both with your husband and with yourself. What does that mean? First, it means not pretending! Sure, pretending to enjoy sex keeps you from having to deal with what would happen if you were honest, but it also has you fantasizing about other men and getting more and more dissatisfied with your marriage.

        Will it hurt your husband to know you’re not attracted to him? Absolutely! Will it hurt him more if you continue to lie and end up having an affair? Absolutely!

        Being honest is hard. It’s uncomfortable. It makes you have hard conversations. It puts your marraige at risk. But it does so honestly, and openly. It also gives you the ONLY chance at having a real, honest and fulfilling relationship EVER!

        Of course, being honest means that you and your husband may argue and fight. You’re going to bring up subjects that, if you don’t work them out, can cause you to divorce. But what you’re missing is that those subjects, those problems, are already there! Not talking about them won’t make them go away. It will make them worse. It will make them fester like an infected wound in your marriage. Then one day, your marriage will explode with sickness, a sickness that has been hidden so long that there may no longer be a cure.

        I appreciate that you don’t want to get a divorce. I’m not saying that you should. But BECAUSE you don’t want to get a divorce, that’s WHY you have to have these conversations. If you don’t, you can keep going along the way you are for months, maybe years, maybe decades. But what kind of marriage will you have? What kind of a life will you create? Will you be happy?

        I know this probably isn’t what you want to hear. (Sorry!) But I tried to be honest.

        Karen

        PS If your husband will agree to have an open marriage, then maybe “taking a break” can be helpful. But, fair warning, engaging in that kind of behavior now, without working on the real issues in your marriage (and especially if your husband doesn’t wholeheartedly agree), will probably only “work” at landing you in divorce court.

  • Thank you for pointing out that if the relationship of the person with their spouse has become toxic for the both of them, then it is best to consider therapy or a divorce. I am sure that my friend and his wife have considered therapy before, and it did not see to work. The only thing that I think they can do now is to call a lawyer and start the process. After all, I do not think they are still happy to be together.

  • Hello,
    I was married very young (20) a year after the unexpected death of my father. My husband goes from being so kind and loving to an absolute monster with no warning. I have begged him to go to counseling, which he has refused. I have begged him to go to anger management therapy, which he refused. He has explosive anger problems and has blatantly made me afraid of him on numerous occasions without ever hitting me (Breaking things, screaming in my face). I have told him my doctor spotted signs of depression and anxiety in me, which he openly acknowledges could be from his behavior and how downright MEAN he can be to me, but in the same breath says it is my fault for being so sensitive. I have considered divorce for 3 of the 5 years we have been together, but I can’t seem to shake this feeling that I haven’t done enough.. that I haven’t given enough of myself up… that I could be more selfless and try harder. But when I do try to do those things, I feel so deeply alone. Divorce is so taboo in the religion I grew up in. I do not know how my family will respond, except for my mom who has said I can live with her if I go through it. I have considered killing myself just because of how much easier it seems. He keeps promising to do better, and for a time it WILL be better, but then he is mean and dismissive and manipulative he is. He tells me my sexuality is gross and overbearing. He tells me I should like things he does more. He tells me I don’t do enough for him and I “owe” him sexual favors. I feel trapped.

    I know this is such a bad idea, but I recently fell into an affair. It has only shown me I am lovable and am a normal human and am not the problem.. but I am scared he will hurt me or the person it was with. Can you offer any advice? I feel very lost and very hopeless.

    • Okay, first of all you absolutely ARE lovable and you ARE a worthwhile human being! You just need to believe that. Once you do, your feeling of hopelessness will go out the window where it belongs. You will be able to move forward in a much healthier direction.

      How do you do it?

      I suggest you start by getting yourself into therapy. Immediately. You need to have an objective person who you can talk with and who can help you see the reality you may not be seeing so clearly right now.

      Second, talk to a domestic violence counselor. Or get in touch with your local domestic violence support group. Most areas have one (or more) such groups. They will be able to help you a lot.

      You may think, “But he has never hit me. I’m not abused!” If that’s what you’re thinking, I beg to differ. That your husband’s abuse hasn’t risen to the level of physical violence yet is good. But his actions are abusive nonetheless.

      Breaking things, screaming in your face, and purposely making you afraid is abusive. Telling you your sexuality is gross and overbearing is, if not technically abusive, at the very least mean and manipulative.

      You don’t deserve any of that.

      You don’t have to stay in this relationship until your husband’s anger gets so out of control that he actually does hit you. You can take action now.

      Get a therapist. Talk to a domestic violence counselor. If you want something to read in teh meantime, check out You Can Heal Your Life, by Louise Hay. Take care of yourself. You’re worth it.

      Karen

      PS If you EVER have suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

  • Hello

    I’ve been married for seven years. I have two kids. I spent 10 years in corporate America and decided to stay home with my kids for the last 4 years. In the meantime, I decided to return to school and change my career. I’m graduating in December with a masters. My new career only averages about 40,000 a year. Currently, we are living the American dream with the big house and nice cars. Im ready to walk away but I’m scared to death of making a big mistake and struggling finacially. So enough about that.

    I want to leave because my husband is emotionally disconnected, emotionally abusive, and just a mean person. In front of others he is such a great catch but behind closed doors he is the polar opposite. Our relationship is toxic for me and our kids. The last argument we had he told me I get in my own way. “Nobody loves or cares about you. You are going to be alone just like your mom. Your dad didn’t even care about you. You can’t even keep relationships with your friend. You are depressed. You need the help.” He goes on to say that I should be so thankful for him. “I’m the best thing that happen to you.” Although he doesn’t respect me nor care about my feelings. He blames me for everything and never apologizes but always in state of defense.
    What I am clear about is that I don’t love him at all. I literally hate this person but fearful about what’s waiting for me and my two kids on the other side of this marriage. He just took us to Europe for a couples trip. He put on a great show for others but behind closed doors he barely said a word to me. That was my breaking point. I can’t do this anymore. I want out!

    Thanks for reading this

    • Oh my! Where to start!

      I can only imagine how lonely you feel living with a man like you’ve described. At the same time, you’re wise to be careful about the financial consequences of divorce before you do anything else.

      I know this sounds cold and cruel, but the truth is, you need to plan for your divorce. You need to learn as much as you can about divorce so that you really understand how it works. You need to figure out your finances, and what your financial reality is likely to be like if you divorce. Depending upon where you live, you might not get much in alimony. While that might suck, it will suck worse if you assume that you will get alimony, only to find out after you’ve already started your divorce that you won’t.

      You also need to decide right now what matters most to you. The truth is that, after you get a divorce, your lifestyle will suffer. If you need the lifestyle that your husband provides, then as horrible as your marriage is, you may not be able to leave it. (Sorry!) On the other hand, if you can live with a lesser lifestyle, you have more options.

      The bottom line is that the more knowledge and information you have, the better prepared you will be to decide what you want, and create a plan to get it in the best way possible.

      Hope that helps.

      Karen

      PS If you’re interested, I’ve created an online program that is specifically designed to help people understand how divorce really works so that they can make a plan to get through their divorce without losing everything and making gigantic mistakes. It’s called The Divorce Road Map Program and it works in every state. You can check it out HERE.

  • Hello,
    I don’t know where to start…just too many things that happened during the three year marriage and all of them are reasons for me not to stay. Stuff like he insulted my family by saying, “he’s not a man”(he meant my father) or “only your mom can tolerate your dad”…he diminishes me every time we fight such as “you haven’t done anything for yourself in your life and always crying for help from your parents” “without your family you can’t survive” or calling me bithch and even threaten me to send me to jail while he threw a shoe on my face and shouted into my ear.
    I haven’t known him for very long, only half year before getting married because I was found pregnant. Even so I insist being a single mother but he was crying many times …I always have a “happy family” dream so I became softhearted and gave it another try. However, I found myself thinking about divorce all these three year…
    Our lifes are two parallel lines, he lives in the basement and playing phone games and drinking…and smoking up…he would never willing to come to me to have a good conversation unless I talk to him. If I didn’t ask him to help me out with chores or taking care of kids, he just seems can’t see it…
    For the financial part, he is working and I’m taking care of two young kids(3yrs n 16M) and stayed home. My parents helped me paid the down payment for the family home before marriage and now I’m paying the mortgage while he’s paying non property related expenses. I want sole custody but I wondered how to have a soomth transition and protect my kids. ( I’ll seek for professional help)
    I apparently disconnected from him in many levels or I never even loved him. I have zero desire to have any activity just him and me. I am aiming for a peaceful divorce without court being involved but when I communicate to my ideas to him, he blames me for destroying a family and will tell kids about it later on…and said I just too easy to quit on everything in my life…

    However, recently he seems improved in some way, he get up “early” to help out (usually he sleeps very late and sometimes even cook a meal before he sleeps and wake up to whenever he wants to because he has insomnia). Lately he tolerates me when I become defensive. I want kids have their father (to bear with me, I don’t trust other guys with my children. I prepare to be single all alone if there’s won’t be anyone)
    On one hand,I tell myself if I don’t say anything, it will be two parallel line for the rest of my life and I know I will not be happy; on the other hand I tell myself I can make my own plan and be a better person and develop a solid career as long as there’s no conflict in front of children. Plus he’s at least bring some “subsidy” to help me raise kids together …
    I’m more on the divorce side but financially I’m not capable of raising two children right now.

    Thank you for reading my mess. I sincerely apologize any discomfort it may cause.
    Some inputs and wisdom will be highly appreciated.

    • Okay, where to start?

      I’m not sure from what you’ve written whether you want a divorce or not. It sounded like you were, but then you said your husband is now improved a bit. Is that enough? I don’t know. Is it something to work with? Maybe.

      No matter what you do, you need to start by being honest: first with yourself, then with your husband. Do you want a divorce? Do you want to spend the rest of your life married to this man? If he improved more, would you want to stay married to him? What would it take for you to want to stay married to him? Answer those questions first.

      If you can’t come to answers on your own, you might want to get a counselor or a coach to help you figure out what you want. Having a trained professional helping you walk through this and figure out what you want can help a lot.

      Once you know what you want, then you can start planning how to get it. If you think your marriage may be able to be saved, then you need to tell your husband how seriouisly unhappy you are. If he realizes his marriage is in danger, perhaps he will start to work with you on it. If he doesn’t, at least you gave it a try.

      If you want a divorce, then you can start making plans for how to do that in the least destructive way possible. There’s a lot involved in doing that (too much to write here). But once you know that you want a divorce, you will be able to start looking into how to do that.

      Hope this helps!

      Karen

      PS As far as finances, there is never a “good” time to get divorced. Divorce always hurts your financial situation. The only question is whether it’s worth it to you or not (and if you have enough money to survive.)

  • Hello,
    My husband and I have been a little rocky for awhile now, ever since his father passed away two months ago. I mean in the past we’d have big arguments every once in awhile, but now they’re practically every day. We have two young kids. Since our youngest was born he went back to work and I had to stay home since daycare is incredibly expensive. He just seems s