Is it Time to Divorce? The Smart Way to Decide if NOW is the Right Time

Are You Ready for Divorce?

TAKE THIS QUIZ and Find Out. 

Minute Read

There’s never a good time to do hard or painful things – like clean the garage, run an ultra-marathon, get a root canal … or get a divorce. But, when you know deep inside yourself 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 make up your mind about what to have for dinner. Trying to figure out whether your marriage is over is complicated, emotional, and messy on every level.  

It’s also wildly disruptive.

Deciding to divorce means turning your entire world upside down.

It’s no wonder then that so many people convince themselves that “now” is just not the right time to divorce.

The problem is that usually “timing” is not the real problem.

Sure, there ARE times when getting a divorce will be harder on you and your family than others. Yet, most of the time, convincing yourself that “now” isn’t the right time to divorce is a just brilliant way of avoiding the question of whether you should get a divorce or not.

So how do know whether your real problem is the TIMING of your divorce? And how do you figure out when the real problem is that you’re in denial about what to do with your marriage?

Two red question marks forming a heart.

Is There Ever a “Right” Time to Divorce?

Before you can figure out if “timing” is your problem, you’ve got to acknowledge one thing:

There is NEVER going to be a “perfect” time to end your marriage. That’s because the little voice in your head is always going to be able to find reasons why getting divorced RIGHT NOW is a bad idea.

For example, the voice in your head may nag at you because …

… you don’t have a job. Or maybe you just got a job and you need to focus on your job, not on a divorce.  Or maybe the problem is that your job is going so well, and you’re making so much money right now, that you worry you’ll get taken to the cleaners if you get divorced.

The voice in your head might also target your kids. It may tell you that …

… your kids are too young for you to divorce.  Or maybe your kids are too old and you don’t want them to have to change schools. Or maybe you’re afraid that if you get divorced now you will ruin your kids’ lives and they’ll hate you forever!

If you don’t have kids the voice in your head may focus on your home. It may remind you that …

… you just bought your house and if you sell it now you’ll lose money. Or maybe you’ve owned your house forever and, consequently, it will need a ton of work before you can sell it. Or maybe you’ve been told that the market is bad and you’ll never get a fair price if you sell your house right now.

No matter who you are or what your circumstances may be, you can ALWAYS find a ton of excuses about why getting divorced right now doesn’t make sense.

The problem is, staying together right now might not make sense either. More importantly, staying together may be making you miserable.

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? Wait! 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!)

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

These Questions Can Help You Decide If It’s Time to Divorce

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. You’ve also answered the question of when you should get a divorce. The answer is: You need to get divorced as soon as you can do so safely.

Getting out safely, however, can be tricky. Your best bet is to work with professionals who specialize in domestic violence. They can guide you so that you and your kids can get out of your situation in the safest way possible.

2. Is your relationship toxic?

Toxic relationships may not be physically abusive, but they are mentally and emotionally abusive. In many ways, that’s just as bad, if not worse.

If your relationship with your spouse is so bad that it has become 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?

When you first discover that your spouse is having an affair, ending your marriage may seem like a no-brainer. Yet when you actually start to move along the path to divorce, and you look at your kids, and you realize how much your life will change if you get a divorce, most people pause.

They consider going to marriage counseling. They try to fix their marriage and heal from the infidelity and betrayal of the affair. Yet, unless whoever had the affair is willing to end it, your marriage will never be able to heal.

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. Talk to your spouse. Work on your issues. Try go make things better.

If you throw in the towel on your marriage without being satisfied that you did everything you could to save it, you may regret your decision later. You’ll also probably have to deal with a tremendous amount of guilt, 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 to save your marriage.

(Of course, if your spouse won’t go to marriage counseling, you can’t force him/her to do so. Yet, you’d be surprised at the number of spouses who said they would NEVER go to marriage counseling, scrambling to find a marriage counselor once they know you’re serious about divorce. Either way, 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 your marriage is over. You may not be able to explain how or why. But 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 compassionately and quickly 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. They don’t fantasize about what their life would be like if they weren’t married. They don’t scour social media trying to reconnect with their former flames “just to see what they’re up to.”

If you find yourself doing any of those things, that may be a sign that you are already leaning toward divorce.  While that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re ready to get a divorce right now, it may mean that you need to start examining your marriage and working to either save it or leave it.

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 in advance 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? How are you going to pay your bills during your divorce? Do you need to save some money first, before you start your divorce? Can you borrow some money from someone?  

If money is tight, 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?

Just like there’s never a good time for you to get a divorce, there’s never “the perfect” time for your kids to live through your divorce either. But, some times are better than others.

If your kids are dealing with a serious illness, throwing a divorce into the mix may be more than either of you can handle right now. The same is true if your kids are acting out, doing drugs, or behaving badly in school. If any of those things are true 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. (… unless, of course, you don’t mind feeling horribly guilty for leaving your spouse when s/he was sick!)

On the other hand, if your spouse is chronically ill, you may not want (or be able) to wait until s/he recovers before you move forward with a divorce. The same may be true if your spouse has a substance abuse issue. In those cases, you may need to move forward with your divorce even though your spouse may not be functioning at 100%.

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. Not only will your spouse’s unemployment make money even tighter during your divorce, but you may be facing alimony/maintenance/spousal support issues you wouldn’t have faced if you had gotten divorced while your spouse was working.

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 before you file for divorce. (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 either.)

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.)

Other financial reasons for divorcing sooner rather than later exist if your spouse is a spendthrift or has a serious gambling addiction. If your spouse is spending or losing money in droves, then staying together will only drag both of you down a financial rabbit hole.

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

Just as there are financial reasons for getting divorced right now, there can be financial reasons for staying together right now. For example, if your current financial situation is a mess, you might want to take some time to save some money or pay down some debt before you get divorced. If you’re in school right now and your spouse is helping pay the bills, getting divorced right now may not make financial sense.

Thinking about these things may sound cold and calculating. Maybe it is. But, at the same time, it’s also realistic. If you want a divorce, but can’t pay your bills unless you stay married, it helps to know that. Once you admit your reality to yourself, you can either start working to put yourself in a more stable place financially, and/or you can start working on your marriage to make it better now.

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?

Divorce is full of uncertainty. It’s full of risk and it’s full of pain. Enough of your friends and neighbors have been through it by now to be able to tell you – in minute detail – all the things that will suck if you get a divorce. (And on the off chance that you don’t know anyone who’s ever gotten a divorce, a quick Google search will easily get you up to speed on how difficult divorce can be.)

Yet, staying in an unhappy marriage has a price too. What dreams are you delaying because you are staying married? How much of your life are you willing to put on hold while you just “exist?” What will you give up, or not be able to do, if you DON’T get divorced now?

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

This is the flip-side of Question #15. Do you have things going on in your life right now that would make getting a divorce more difficult, painful or complicated?

For example, maybe one of your kids is getting married soon, and going through a divorce while they’re getting married will make their wedding awkward or uncomfortable. Maybe your parents are sick and you just don’t have the emotional bandwidth to take care of them AND get a divorce at the same time. Or maybe there are other reasons why delaying your decision to divorce makes sense.

17. Can you handle staying married for another _____?

If you’re ready to get divorced now but are unwilling or unable to pull the trigger at the moment, can you deal with the status quo for another (fill in the blank amount of time)? What will you do if nothing changes? What will you do if things take a turn for the worse?

Are you willing to stay in a loveless marriage for the indefinite future? 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 keep yourself from exploding because you’re unhappy, and making everything worse?

Depending upon where you live, the timing of your divorce might matter.

For example, certain states have maintenance/alimony formulas that are based in part upon how long you have been married. Or maybe you signed a prenuptial agreement that requires you to stay married for a certain length of time or face certain financial consequences. Either way, you would be wise to talk to a divorce lawyer to find out whether there are any legal ramifications of divorcing now versus later BEFORE you make any decisions.

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

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. And you will always second guess yourself about whether you did the right thing right now.

All of that is normal. It’s human.

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? If you answer these questions honestly, you’ll know.


This blog was originally posted on January 4, 2017, and updated on October 5, 2020.

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

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


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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.


    • 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.


      • 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.



  • 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.


    • 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!



        • 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.



          • 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.



            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.



      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.



  • 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.



  • 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.


  • 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.


  • 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.


  • 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.


  • 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.


  • 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.


        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.


      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.


      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!


      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 so mad anymore, I can’t even try to talk to him about it because somehow someway it’s always “my fault”. I evidently have it so easy being a stay at home mom and I’m so lazy and I don’t do anything and he works so hard and I don’t. Which isn’t fair, I left my job to be a stay at home mom, it’s not like I wasn’t working, I worked to the end of my pregnancy. I do love him, but I don’t know if I can handle this anymore. I’m constantly being put down, he never wants to do anything, sex is his way or no way, the insults are ridiculous, he doesn’t like being home anymore. I’m the one that only takes care of the kids. Yes, he buys the diapers, etc., but he doesn’t do anything at all for them, it’s just me. I already feel like a single parent. Like 2 weeks ago we got into a huge fight and he shoved me out of his way and it terrified my oldest son, he hid. His excuse is that he’s tired and he works a lot. I really just want to take the kids and leave him. I mentioned counseling before but he doesn’t care for it, I guess our marriage isn’t worth it to him I don’t know. Any advice?

    • I can understand how you feel, but I also think you’re jumping to conclusions that might not be accurate, and are only making yourself feel worse in the process.

      If you could get your husband to go to marriage counseling, that would be ideal. But saying “I guess our marriage isn’t worth it to him,” because he doesn’t want to go to counseling, isn’t necessarily true. He may care very deeply about your marriage, but is going through his own personal crisis due to the death of his father. You don’t know. It is true that something is going on with him. What it is, however, who knows?

      I would try again to get him to go to counseling. I would make sure he understands just how seriously unhappy you are, and how important it is that he go to counseling with you. While you may THINK he gets it, trust me when I say that he might not. (Denial is stronger than you think!)

      If he absolutely won’t go to counseling, then I suggest you go to individual counseling yourself. It will help a lot to have a therapist who you can talk with and who will help you cope with what’s going on in your life.

      Finally, I would have a serious, heart-to-heart conversation with your husband about what’s going on. Tell him how you feel. Don’t accuse him of anything, or make him feel like you’re attacking him. Keep the conversation focused on YOU – how unhappy you are, how you feel, and what you want and need. Hopefully, that will help him open up. But if you blame him, attack him, or make him feel like he’s not good enough, he will close up like a clam shell and you will get exactly nowhere.

      Hope this helps.


  • Hello, just looking for some advice on what to do in my marriage. We have been together 3 years, and married 1. We each have a son from previous relationships and a daughter together. All under the age of 10. My son and his son don’t necessarily get along very well. So that makes it harder. My husband was a great man in the beginning. He really loved me and cared about me but now he verbally abuses me. He drinks and says horrible things to me and then the next day, he acts as if nothing happened and if I bring anything up, he gets mad and tells me to stop trying to fight and bring up the past. He finally slowed down on the drinking but I find myself looking at apartments and thinking about divorce. I’m just not very happy. We have so much time invested. We have our kids, our home, our vehicles, so many things together and it’s hard. I’m scared to leave and regret it. What should I do?

    • It sounds like you’re in a tough spot. Unfortunately, it’s not my place to tell you what you should do. That’s your decision.

      What I can say is that you might want to try marriage counseling before you throw in the towel. Individual counseling isn’t a bad idea either. Or you could try marriage retreats or anything else that is designed to help you work through your issues. Here’s why.

      If the counseling works: fabulous! You just solved your problem. If the counseling doesn’t work that’s not so fabulous, but at least you know you tried. That helps – especially because getting a divorce will disrupt your home, your kids, your lives, and so much more. Knowing you did everything you could to save your marriage before you filed for divorce will help you be more at peace with your decision – if that’s the decision you ultimately make.

      If you want marriage counseling to work, though, it’s better to start sooner rather than later. Most people wait far too long to start marriage counseling. At that point, there is often not much left to save.

      Hope this helps.


  • Thank you for writing this.
    My husband and I met while playing a game online. He lived in England, I here in the states. After 7 years if being penpals He came here on a fiancee visa (I signed an affidavit of support) we have now been married for almost 5 years.
    Like most couples we bicker and have out fights. 3 years ago I requested we have marriage counseling. In the session, the therapist suggested that I see her. We never actually had counseling.
    My husband isn’t a terrible guy, I just don’t think he is capable of giving me the love that vi need. Our love language are totally different. Mine is more attuned to physical and words. He is acts of service. The entire relationship I knew he wasn’t the best at vocalizing love. However it is a subject which has been brought up repeatedly. No effort was made on his part. Im talking I don’t even know if he is physically attracted to me!
    Well he believes that the therapist is doing me more harm than good ( I disagree) he is a bit condescending towards everything I do. I’m not even allowed to cook because he hates my cooking. He has no problem vocalizing his opinion. (BTW I’m not that poor of a cook. He is just exceptionally picky) I guess what I’m trying to say is that if his love language is acts of service but he hates everything I do, I just can’t win.
    My husband works overnights. At the beginning of the year he decided to move into the guest room for better quality of sleep.
    In Spring, I began to feel exceptionally depressed. Talking I couldn’t get out of bed. He looked at me with disgust rather than being concerned if I was okay. This isn’t in my head. At some point I knew I needed help. Told him that I needed to see a dr. He basically said that if I did that, they would lock me up in the Looney bin. I ignored him and got help. I was placed in an outpatient program. He next objected because if I made a nickel less than my usual income we couldn’t pay bills. He was being unfair because that just wasn’t true. His lack of support has been astounding.
    Since then, I have found a group of friends who are being there for me. He isn’t too thrilled about that. But what else am I to do? Our dog was hit and killed by a car. (She was my Service dog in training ) When we buried her, my friends were the ones comforting me and holding. He instead choose to ignore me and barely talk to me.
    This rant I suppose is my way to express my disappointment in him. I have spoken with my therapist about how things are going. It scared the shit out of me when she immediately brought up divorce. That isn’t normal. Nor is saying that sometimes children who come from abusive families sometimes choose a spouse who is also similar. I have complex PTSD.
    To top things off, I think im in love with another man. We haven’t done anything, but the feelings for him are there. Hell, I don’t even know if he feels the same way. That doesn’t matter though.
    To recap, I am currently on disability. He is the breadwinner. I signed an affidavit of support. Financially, I am unable to support both of us. No children, 2 dogs (one is special needs. I am their caregiver), we bought a house together that I absolutely love. He’s basically abandoned me emotionally and is unintentionally borderline emotionally abusive. I still love him and don’t want to hurt him. I just don’t know what to do. Well I do, just don’t know what to do.

    • I applaud you for getting the help that you need. It seems like you made a good decision to see a therapist.

      I’m a little confused about the rest, though. You said “I just don’t know what to do. Well I do, just don’t know what to do.” So, I’m not sure what you’re asking.

      It sounds like you are thinking of divorce, but aren’t sure. You also said that divorce scares you. That’s totally understandable. Divorce is a big change. It is scary. From what you’ve written, though, before you can start thinking about divorce (if that’s even what you decide to do) you need to focus on yourself first.

      The more you can get yourself together, the more secure you will be if you get a divorce. Working on yourself will also help your marriage if you decide to stay married. So, either way, focusing on yourself will be a good thing.

      Also, you’re probably going to want to keep working with your therapist. (If you’re not happy with your current therapist and want to find someone new, that’s fine. The point is to keep working with a therapist.) You also want to work on getting out of depression and getting a job. All of that will help you feel better and will improve your quality of life whether you get a divorce or not.



  • my husband and I have been together for 14 years and married for 11 of them. Everything was good for the first few years but then he seemed to get lazier and lazier as we had more kids. I am always doing all the household choirs and taking car of the kids. we have 3 together and my oldest for a different relationship before i met my husband. Since taking my new job just over a year ago he has become very controlling of me and is always accusing me of cheating every time i leave the house even when going into work. with my new job he cant keep track of me because i drive a lot. he has been verbally abusive. we argue everyday almost all day and its starting to affect my kids. I have been thinking about divorce a lot lately but I feel like now isn’t the time to do so. I love my husband very much but because of his behavior i don’t feel in love with him anymore

    • Okay, believe it or not, you are at a bit of a crossroads here. If you get help and work on your marriage now, it sounds like you still have a chance at making it work. (Obviously, there are no guaranteses. But at least you’ve got a chance.)

      On the other hand, if you just keep going the way you are without doing anything to change your relationship dynamic, you are much more likely to end up either being totally miserable, or being divorced. (Sorry!)

      I know you’re busy and you have a lot on your plate. It probably doesn’t seem fair that saving your marriage is just one more thing that you now have “to do.” But marriages aren’t 50/50 propositions. They are 100/100. The fact that your husband may not be carrying his weight in the relationship unfortunately doesn’t mean that you can slack off. (Again, sorry!)

      I strongly suggest that you try marriage counseling. I also think that doing your own work in individual counseling would be good too. It will help you get clear about what you want and need from a marriage, and what you’re willing to do to try to repair yours. It will also help you learn to speak up about what you want and need. (While it’s really hard to admit, in every relationship, we all get what we tolerate. That’s not to say that any of this is your “fault.” What I’m saying is that, if you want your husband to treat you differently, you need to have the courage and the energy to tell him about it, AND to take appropriate action if he doesn’t change.)

      Hope this helps.


  • I need advice. I have been married for 11 years, together 13. We have 3 kids together (12, 10, and 3). We went through a rough patch years ago but got through it with consoling and space. We were good for a few years and last 6 months we have been back to being bad. This time I just dont know if I have the energy to try anymore. It’s not that he is a bd dad or even person. He has never abused me in any way. He has a great job and works all the time. But we dont connect. We are just in so different places. But I am scared if I divorce, what if I regret it later.

    • I can hear that you’re torn. But, from what you’ve written, believe it or not, your marriage may still have a chance!

      The lack of connection you feel can be repaired – BUT you need to work on it. That kind of a problem won’t fix itself. And, if you don’t work on fixing it, it will eat through your marriage like a cancer. Eventually you won’t be able to save your marriage. There will be nothing left to save.

      Here are suggestions/ideas you can try:

      Marriage counseling. Get a good marriage counselor and commit to working on your marriage for 6 months. (You may need to invterview more than 1 counselor to find someone who both you and your husband connect with.) During that 6 month period, take divorce OFF the table! Commit to working on your marriage. If, after 6 months, things haven’t improved, THEN you can re-evaluate.

      Discernment counseling. This is a very specific kind of counseling that is designed to help you understand all of your options (there are more than you think) and then decide what you want to do. It is done with BOTH spouses and can be very effective.

      Individual Counseling. Sometimes even individual therapy can help you figure out what you really want and what you are willing to do to get it.

      I also run a retreat designed to help people make this important life decision. (I know it’s hard!) The retreat is closed for this year but if you CLICK HERE you can get on a list to be notified when I run it again next year.

      Hope this helps.


  • My wife and I have been married for 9 years. She cheated on me twice. She had a physical affair with my best friend and an emotional affair with my cousin. I didn’t want to go through with a divorce so I stayed with her. We have been to multiple counselors. It’s been over 2 years and I just don’t love her like I used to. I feel like I have tried everything to be happy with her and I just can’t. We have 2 kids, 7 and 8 years old

    • I’m so sorry. It’s really difficult to get over the past, especially when your spouse has cheated on you multiple times in different ways. Sometimes, all you can do is your best, then move on.

      Good luck.


  • I’ve been married for 16 years I cheated on my wife. I’ve apologized over and over been compassionate. She has given me hell for 2 years and it ain’t getting know better. What should I do?

    • I wish I could tell you, but unless both of you have worked on fixing the underlying problems in your marriage (whatever caused the cheating) and both of you have committed to working through your issues together so you can build a stronger marriage, not much is likely to change.

      There’s usually a whole lot more to cheating than just a physical act. This is also a much deeper, and longer, conversation than what can be put in a blog comment. At this point, you might want to go to marriage counseling and try to figure out what’s going on and where you’re really at in your marriage.


  • Hi Karen,
    My husband and I have been married for seven years and together almost 10 years. From the beginning he always had a communication issue when I came to him with feelings he would blow up on me and get defensive when it wasn’t necessary and I never understood it. I am very good at forgiving peoples so I just found it easier to keep forgiving him even after he would say cruel things during an argument and get angry and yell as I Would just sit there and listen because I’m a pretty calm person.We now have three children ages 6, 3 and 1. He has never really been there for me emotionally he has a very hard worker and is a good guy normally but anytime you come to him with any feelings whatsoever or try to communicate about anything to do with him or our relationship he blows up and turns everything around on me and I end up apologizing when I was the one her. He’s even went as far as telling me to get out of his face every time I cry or try to talk to him he belittles me he tells me no one will ever love me and many more things. About a year ago after I had my son I was extremely depressed he works a lot of hours so he’s never really around he’s never been supportive when I was depressed now he claims he didn’t even know it when I was telling you every day how depressed I was and he didn’t want to acknowledge it cause he doesn’t like to deal with anything. I do know that that’s how he grew up his family always screams and yells at each other and says terrible things and act like nothing has happened so I think he’s learned to keep all his emotions in and now he does the same thing to me. Since about a year ago after I had my son I have been thinking of divorce because I’ve tried and tried and tried to talk to him about the unhealthiness of not being able to communicate and The way he treats me when I try to communicate with him and the terrible things he says never go away. We have been to three different marriage therapist and it never worked in life just got really busy. I’ve told him over and over I think he has an anger problem and I am now feeling like he’s a narcissist and my therapist says he has most traits of a narcissist. Our relationship has now grown very very very toxic and he now screams at me and belittled me in front of our children and they don’t respect me either I keep trying to talk to them in keeping hopeful and it’s consuming me and my life. OK now filed for divorce this past May and he blew up of course and was terrible to me every single day sense and even though I kept saying if you get home we can make this work and he kept refusing to get help and saying he has no problems. Now he has calm down a bit and we are trying to reconcile but I can’t help but think deep down that he can actually change because he goes back-and-forth Saying he has a problem and then saying he has no problems and it’s all me. I feel guilty all the time because I keep looking at my marriage thinking I pray my children are never in a marriage like this or never or or treated this way. I love him very very much but I don’t know how much more I can take and I have guilt because we have children together and I feel bad breaking our family up but I don’t want them to see this relationship anymore. The divorce is still pending I keep pushing it further and further back because he keeps saying he’s trying to make things right and when things are good there OK but anytime you want any kind of emotional connection or to communicate about the relationship or any thing to do with him or eyes he blows up and says things I will never ever leave my head I don’t know if he can actually change this and I don’t think he actually thinks he has a problem. The other issue as were extremely physically attracted to each other always have been and still have socks and my therapist said that’s his love language so I think he feels connected again when we have sex but that’s not my love language I need to be able to communicate and not be with someone that’s putting me down anytime I come to him with a concern. So now every day and my head I go back-and-forth on what I’m supposed to do because now we’re getting to the point where I need to make a decision but I do love him and I keep having hope but I don’t know where to draw the line on when to call it quits? My therapist says he has been extremely verbally and emotionally abuse of I told him that and he said he can’t believe I would even say something like that and he sure someone else has treated me worse in my lifetime which is absolutely ridiculous to say to someone he’s also told me I Don’t deserve to be treated goodbye him and that is something that is earned and I bring that up to him all the time and say I can’t believe you would say something like that to someone and he says well look how you’re acting that day. I just don’t know what to do anymore and I need to make a decision it’s hard to let go of someone you love and wonder if they’re going to ever change. I am And Angeli stable on my own with my children without him so that’s not a concern at all I’m just worried after this is all said and done that I will miss him and regret this but at the same time I know this is very toxic.

    • Oh my! It sounds like you’re in a tough spot. It also sounds like it’s time for a little “tough love” here. (Sorry! But, you asked!)

      First of all, congratulations on getting a therapist! Going through a divorce is really hard. Working with a therapist while you are going through this kind of difficult life transition can make a HUGE difference!

      You said several times that your relationship is toxic and that your husband treats you very badly. You’re also worried about regretting your decision to divorce him. Why?

      I understand that you love him. But, with all due respect – so what? I don’t know who ever came up with the idea that just because you love someone you should be married to them. Love is important in a marriage, but love is not enough to sustain a marriage between two people who have very little else in common – except maybe sexual attraction. (Sorry!)

      What’s most important in a marriage is respect. You need to share common values and have decent communication. You have to treat each other well, and agree (at least most of the time) on how you want to raise your kids. It also helps if you have similar goals. It doesn’t sound like you have ANY of that with your husband.

      You said your therapist said your husband has been extremely abusive. Why would you want to be with someone who abuses you?

      Will you miss him when he’s gone? In a way you probably will. Change is hard. You’ve been in a relationship now for 10 years and you have kids together. But just because you may miss your husband from time to time doesn’t mean that staying married to him is the right thing to do, or that it’s good for you or your kids.

      Speaking of kids, what are you teaching your kids about marriage, and about love? Should they grow up thinking that love is abusive? You said they already don’t respect you. How are they going to treat you years from now if you continue to stay in this toxic relationship?

      Instead of focusing on what you may lose if you divorce (i.e. the security of having some kind of a relationship and the hope that maybe some day in some dream world it may work out), try focusing on what you have to gain if you leave – self respect, better health, and real stability for yourself and your kids. Maybe in the future you’ll even find a new, healthy relationship and real love.

      I don’t mean to be hard on you. But, it just doesn’t sound like your marriage is healthy. Since your husband won’t get help, and won’t change, I’m not sure that your hope that someday everything will be better is well-founded. (Sorry!)


  • Hello I’ve been married 11 years together 15. I Was never really happy with our physical connection. Kissing felt awkward and sex was not good but I thought it was me. I was never head over heals for my wife but she gave me an ultimatum to marry and I figured it was the next step. We have two kids (7&9). I started an affair About a year ago. I told my wife about it about 5 months ago. We talked about the issues in our marriage and she is trying to change, but I just don’t think I love her and can’t be intimate with her. I feel like I want a divorce but I am scared I’ll ruin my
    Kids lives and my wife will be so hurt. If I stay I think I will be unhappy and become angry. Just so torn on what to do.

    • I can hear how conflicted you are. I’m not surprised. Getting a divorce is really hard. It will affect your kids (although it won’t ruin their lives!). It will also hurt your wife. But staying married when you are unhappy and angry will probably hurt your wife too! (Plus what will staying do to you?)

      From what you’ve described it sounds like a great option for you and your wife may be discernment counseling. That is a special kind of limited-scope counseling that is specifically designed to help you and your wife figure out if you should stay married or get a divorce. You can learn more about discernment counseling HERE.

      You might also try marriage counseling. But, the problem is that, until you’ve sorted out for yourself whether you want to stay married or get a divorce, marriage counseling will be of limited value. (Trying to fix a marriage you’re not totally committed to being in doesn’t usually work very well.) That’s why discernment counseling might be a better option.

      You’re definitely in a tough spot. It’s hard to know what to do. What’s important is that you sort this out for yourself sooner rather than later. Otherwise, you can stay stuck for a very long time … and that’s no way to live.

      I wish you the best.


  • I have been married to my husband for 7 years now and I can’t remember the last time he made me happy. His always so mentally and verbally abusive so much that when he knows I’m about to break down he starts making fun of me until I start to cry, then he continues and continues right in front of the kids. My kids always run up to me and hug me and I hate crying in front of them I don’t want to keep showing them that it’s ok for daddy to do this to mommy. He treats our 6 year old The same way he treats me. This is really the reason I want to get a divorce. She hates coming home. She constantly tell him she hates him and that she wishes she had a new dad. I constantly have fight with him for this reason. I have been keeping my feelings all to my self for so long I don’t think I can keep going like this. I’ve always given up my dreams to make his happen. He has walked out on me and the kids two times I didn’t even know why I took him back. He will change for a month or two then his right back at it. His always saying means things about my family as well and makes fun of me when I go visit my parents but my parents babysit our children. His family doesn’t even care about our kids. Every holiday or event we must only do things with his family. The only thing he does around here is provide money but I make my own pay check as well. I’m just scared of leaving what if I can’t do it by my self and my kids. I need to take my children to a therapist. I’m just scared I didn’t even know what I’m scared of anymore I just don’t know how to start the process

    • Of course you’re scared! When you get a divorce your whole life changes! You don’t know how anything will turn out. But, just because you’re scared and don’t know what will happen, doesn’t mean that you have to spend the rest of your life married to a man who treats you and your children like garbage.

      Everyone thinks that courageous people are those who don’t have fear. That’s absolutely not true. True courage is feeling the fear, and doing what you need to do anyway.

      Maybe I’m naive, but I don’t think that you should have to give up your dreams in order to stay married. I also don’t think that you need to let anyone abuse you in order to get love. To me, that’s not real love. That’s manipulation. (Sorry! I don’t mean to be hard on you!)

      Of everything you said though, the most troubling is that your 6 year old hates coming home and doesn’t want to be around her dad. That speaks volumes.

      Let me ask you something: If that’s how she feels at 6, what is her life going to be like at 16? What will she think love is? What will she think about marriage? Will she even still be living with you, or, by that time, will she have run away or found another way to escape?

      I think you’re right to take your kids to a therapist. I also suggest you get one for yourself. Having a good therapist by your side can help you sort out your emotions and move forward productively. S/he can also help you own the fact that you deserve to be treated well. (Remember, we all get what we tolerate. If we allow ourselves to be treated badly, we will get treated badly.)

      I know you’re scared. I know this isn’t easy. But, whether you believe it right now or not, you’re strong enough, and courageous enough, to get through this.

      I wish you the best.


  • My husband and I have been together for 13 years, 3 of them married. I always felt like he has a drinking problem and during our dating we broke up twice because I felt as though it was unhealthy. He has a stable job and it’s not as if he drinks all day but when he gets home, it’s from then to bed which is a good 6 hours. He goes through a big bottle of vodka in 2 days. It’s come to a point where I feel like it’s putting a toll on us conceiving. He refuses to go to a doctor to see if it is. Amongst that I just feel as though he’s been controlling, I can’t go anywhere longer than 45 minutes without him jabbing at me with comments with me being gone. I don’t have family around us, going out and about by myself is sometimes what I need. I work m-f, I go straight home after work (minus the grocery store) and all I am is home. I do all the cleaning and cooking and yet something always isn’t right. I never used to be this person that allowed someone to talk to me the way he does sometimes, or put up with something that doesn’t make me happy. When we were dating I had no fear of voicing my mind. As we’re married for some reason I’ve lost that. I can’t be me or do the things I enjoy.


    • Oh my! I don’t know if it’s not my place to tell you this, but it sounds like your husband may be a functioning alcoholic. (Sorry!) Anyone who consistently drinks that much vodka has a drinking problem. On top of that, your relationship doesn’t sound particularly happy or healthy.

      Just because your husband is holding down a job right now doesn’t mean that he can’t be an alcoholic. He may be (and likely is) a functioning alcoholic. (Again, sorry!)

      If you haven’t done so already, I suggest you check out Al-Anon. They are a support organization for those who are in a relationship with alcoholics. They could be a tremendous help and resource to you right now. I also suggest you get your own therapist – one who understands addiction. Having someone to talk with who understands what you’re going through can also be invaluable. A good therapist can also help you figure out why you’ve lost the ability to say what’s on your mind and – more importantly – find that ability for yourself again.

      Normally, I would also suggest that you talk to your husband about your marriage and how stifled and unhappy you feel. The problem is, talking to him when he’s drunk is useless. So you have to find a time when he’s sober.

      You also need to figure out what you want for your life and what you’re willing to do to get it. Do you want to live with an alcoholic? What will you do if your husband won’t get sober? What will you do if he does? The road to recovery is seldom a straight path. People often relapse before they stay permanently sober. Are you prepared to deal with that? All of these questions and more are what you need to start asking yourself now. (… which is another reason why getting a therapist is a good idea!)

      I wish I had better news for you. (Again, sorry!) But, since you asked, I figured the least I could do was be honest.

      I wish you the best.


  • Hello. Been with my husband for 40 years. High school sweethearts. We have an awesome 26 year old baby who lives in an apartment and she is the love of both our lives. My husband had a prostatectomy a few years ago, has been unemployed for almost 8 years ( even before the cancer) he suffers from depression and he is very angry. He was in a 20 year adulterous affair while we were bringing up our daughter. I knew about it but was so afraid to do anything about it. I know ..crazy.. I stayed. I wanted stability for our baby and I thought he would “see” how wonderful I was. He had the best ofbold worlds I guess. Years later, I had started my PhD. I’m working full time and I am the sole breadwinner and always struggling financially. There have been so many moments when he was verbally abusive to me- mostly when he has been drinking. I also have to travel occasionally for my job, a source of contention, jealously and envy. He is emotionally manipulative (threatens to kill himself) and sometimes I am frightened of him and sometimes I feel so sorry for him. He was at one time an awesome father and provider, but has cheated on me many times because “I am not a sexual person” and he is very sexual and knows “these young girls out here want him.” I work long hours and sometimes I hate to come home because I never know what to expect. He is so moody. I love him. But I’m honestly thinking our best days are behind us. We have a home in both our names and I don’t want him to be in a bad situation. He made our home and our world possible 20 years ago. I thought our marriage could heal after that 20 year affair, but he is back to hanging out and being mean and snippy with me. I will be at dissertation next year and it will be very challenging. I’m lost. I feel so angry, I thought we could move forward (we started going to the gym, church and stopped drinking around each other) I was so hopefull, but today,very seriously , I am considering divorce. I can’t go through the infidelity again. Can’t bury my head in the sand. Praying for clarity, but not wanting to pay alimony or live in regret of walking away. I have been patient, loving,forgiving, faithful, hardworking and unappreciated for so long. I’m weary. I deserve better. Thank you

    • My heart goes out to you! I can hear your sadness coming through every word you wrote.

      I don’t know if you and your husband have tried marriage counseling. If you haven’t, that might be something worth doing – especially if you and your husband haven’t completely dealt with the aftermath of his affair. It certainly sounds like you haven’t healed from that affair. So marriage counseling could help you a lot. (Individual counseling for you to help with your anger wouldn’t be a bad idea either! … just a friendly suggestion!)

      I also think it would be helpful to have a serious talk with your husband. I know that may seem ridiculous to you at this point. After all you’ve been through, you may think he should know that you are unhappy and considering divorce. Trust me when I tell you that what seems obvious to you can be completely off his radar screen. He may know you’re not doing the happy dance every day, but he may also have no idea that you would seriously contemplate divorce. (After all, if you put up with a 20 year affair and you’re still with him, why would you leave now?)

      You said that he is “back to hanging out.” I’m not sure what that means. But if it means that he’s having another affair, that’s definitely an issue you want to address. Ignoring the elephant in the room doesn’t make the elephant go away. It just gets you squashed.

      You also mentioned you don’t want to have to pay alimony. I get it. No one wants to support their ex. But staying in a dead relationship just to save some money doesn’t seem like a great trade-off to me.

      Finally, you said you don’t want to have regrets. To walk away with a clean heart and head you need to satisfy yourself that you’ve done everything you can do to save the marriage. You have to be at peace with your decision. When you are, you’ll be ready to move forward.

      Hope this helps.


  • Hi Karen,
    In short….I’ve been with my husband for 20yrs married for going on 18. Our marriage has been so rough. Most duration I’ve been the breadwinner ( he is stable now with a great position), financially we can never get on the same page, we’re dealing with infertility issues, I have a daughter (I had her young) that he treats as his own but the older she gets the void, resentment and my guilt of “his own” gets stronger, we argue a lot. After a year or so of some time apart but still in communication I moved into his grandparents home with him and that’s where we are right now with the plan to rekindle, move and be more aware of each other’s needs. Well I just recently came across some messages dated back to 2010 where him and a “old friend” were flirting and sexting. He swears nothing happen physically and that these were times he felt insecure but REALLY! Well I’ve been a detective and keep coming across different messages and with another women from just last year. With everything we’ve been through my silly self thought loyalty was the ONE thing I had in our marriage. He’s apologized profusely but I won’t let it die and he’s getting upset swearing he would never be with anyone else physically and it was nothing “just talk”. He wants me to try one more time but we already had so much we needed to work on that this is a hard pill to swallow. I love him, I do believe he loves me but this hurts. He’s a good guy generally speaking but his pride, our rough patches, infertility and this new found what I call cheating has me thinking we need to call it quits. What do you think..

    • First of all, you’ve clearly been through a lot. Is it enough for you to throw in the towel? Unfortunately, that’s not my call to make.

      It sounds like the two of you have gone through so much that putting your marriage back together on your own might be more than you can do. A good marriage counselor may be able to help you work through your current rough patch better. (That’s not to say that you CAN’T do it on your own. But getting help might increase your chances of success.)

      As for whether you call it quits because of his “cheating,” again, that’s up to you. What I know is that unless you can work through your own emotions and let go of your anger and pain, your marriage doesn’t have much of a chance of working out. (Sorry!) But grudges and buried feelings kill relationships. They may not do it immediately, but sooner or later those feelings completely erode whatever love you and your husband had.

      I’m not saying that your husband’s flirting and sexting etc were right in any way. They weren’t. But holding on to your sense of anger and betrayal over his behavior will make sure neither you nor your marriage recovers from what he did. If your marriage is going to have any chance of going the distance, you both have to work through all the issues that are lying under the surface of your discontent. (… and my guess is there are a LOT of issues hanging out there!).

      I hope this helps.


  • Hello,
    I’ve been considering divorcing my husband of 7 years. We have a 4 and a 2 year old. He has bipolar disorder and for the past couple years, he has been unable to get his medication corrected like it use to be (lost weight, got a new dr). During this time, he was so depressed that he began using drugs to function and go to work but now he has a drug problem. Since then, he’s been fired from his job and has spent a few times in a psychiatric hospital to stabilize him. With his bipolar symptoms and drug use, I cannot trust him to watch our kids. He doesn’t help out around the house, has no income and is pretty much just a huge burden that barely leaves. His moods are all over the place. We both see individual therapists and have tried couples counseling. It is almost impossible to explain things to him because he’s so irrational. What should I do?

    • It sounds like you’ve got a lot on your plate with your husband right now.

      I wish I could tell you what to do, but that’s totally not my call. (Sorry!) What I can tell you is that if you listen to the voice inside of you very carefully, you’ll know what you should do.


  • Hello Karen,

    I married young when I was in college to my then boyfriend who was in the army. We have been married almost 5 years now and I think we should divorce but I’m just not sure. Our relationship has been toxic for the last two years because I am pursuing my doctorate and he feels I am choosing my education and career over him. We are currently separated because I am at school in Nebraska and he is stationed in North Carolina. We started in couples counseling before I left for school, and we have had to switch to several different counselors since they “were picking on him” or he felt they were “leading us in the wrong direction” or “not Christian enough”. We are both Christians but it feels like he uses my faith as a weapon against me to bring me down saying I should quit school and come home and be an “actual wife”, be more submissive, and stop being a failure of a wife. Furthermore, he isolates me from friends and family but loves to make himself look great in front of others so no one has any idea he cruel he can be. After confiding in one of my close friends she recommended I go to a counselor by myself, and after a few sessions, I recognized he was emotionally abusive (a concept I was unfamiliar with).

    Finally, I had had enough and told him I wanted a divorce a few months ago and things got a little ugly (he smashed things and hurt himself and had to go to the hospital). I tried to keep the situation calm and only meet with him in public places or with someone else present because although he hasn’t physically hurt me, he is very intimidating and with his temper, I never want to put myself in a bad situation. I have given in this Christmas and went down to visit, and he was overly sweet and kind and caring like he used to be. He has been going to see a counselor and has been working on his temper and his emotionally abusive tendencies. This broke my heart because I had been missing that man for so long, but after the last two years, I don’t necessarily see a future. I’m not sure if staying with him will ever lead to a future, but facing my family, friends, colleagues, and church groups almost feels worse. Do you have any recommendations on how you know you “did everything” or if you are justified in leaving? I’m at a loss if I should give him another chance or to cut off ties and rebuild. Thanks in advance!

    • I can understand how horrible facing your family, friends and church groups will feel if you decide to get a divorce. But whose life are you living? Yours or theirs?

      Please understand, I’m not telling you that you should get a divorce. That’s a very personal decision that only you can make. But the reasons for making your decision are just as important as the decision itself.

      If you feel like you still love your husband and you have a future with him, that’s one thing. But if you only stay married because that’s what you think you are “supposed” to do, or because that’s what others expect you to do, that’s something very, very different. The first has a chance at resulting in a happy life. The second usually does not.

      If you do decide to get back together with your husband, make sure you approach the relationship with open eyes. It’s one thing to be able to be sweet for a couple of days or a week at Christmas. It’s another thing entirely to be truly a changed man who is sweet to you over the years. I’m not saying that he can’t change or that he didn’t change. But I would take things slow until I saw that the change was real and lasting.

      How do you know you “did everything?” You look inside your heart and ask. Then you become silent and listen for an answer. You listen over and over again, until you hear the answer and you know in your heart it’s true. If you ask enough, and you listen enough, your answer will come.

      Hope that helps.


  • Hi Karen,

    My wife and I have been together for almost four years and married for almost a year, most of that year I have been full of unhappiness, doubts and regret…thinking I got married too soon and without truly thinking my decision through. We have always had issues with our relationship dating back before we got married, and I always thought that we could overcome any and all issues because we loved each other so much. She has always had trust issues due to never having a close example in her life of what a truly good man is like, and what a good marriage is like. I thought that getting married would help with her trust issues because I would be showing her how much I loved her and how deeply I was committed to her. The trust issues have not gotten noticeably better now than they used to be. So, there is one reason for my unhappiness…I rushed into marriage for the wrong reason, in order to gain more trust from her, rather than because I was ready for it and it was what I wanted. I also feel very confined in my marriage, and I have for a long time…the whole time I have been married I have been walking on eggshells, being extremely careful of what I say, how I say it, and when I say it to avoid a negative emotional reaction from my wife. I am extremely gun-shy about being vulnerable with her and openly communicating because so often we have miscommunication which results in arguments and fights and me feeling generally terrible. Often I will say or do something that she does not like, or misinterprets as me being a jerk (When really I’m just a young guy that doesn’t always know how best to communicate in a relationship, and still has a lot to learn) and it will result in her being vindictive by saying hurtful words to me, or stonewalling me for hours on end, sometimes days, all the time being very resistant to telling me what I did to upset her (she says I should know). I feel that her love is very conditional. She will only show me love when she is in a good mood, and never does when she is in a bad mood, regardless of whether or not I had anything to do with her bad mood. She has also admitted to trying to exert control over me…although not to the extent that I think she tries to control me. This is a huge issue because I am a very independent person and I hate being told what to do. The power struggle relates to many things…communication (she always want to talk and resolve issues NOW, whereas I need time to evaluate the problem on my own before talking), money, what we eat, how we spend our time. She will tell me how great or perfect I am and how much she loves me, but I never feel like those words are true because of how often she expresses frustration with me and dissatisfaction with my actions. We have been attending marriage counseling for the last couple months, and it has helped in some ways, but I think it is too late to fix all of the things that need fixing. I am exhausted by my marriage….I work all day and come home to more work on my relationship (and there is a LOT of work to do). I have started to resent my relationship because I feel that all I do is work, work, work…and that I am drowning in a sea of things to fix in my marriage….I think that, as a 24 year old, life should be fun, at least a little bit. It shouldn’t be nothing but work. I have spoken to people that say that, although marriage is hard, the first year should be FUN, which worries me because my first year has been the opposite.

    I love my wife very much, and I hated myself at first for having thoughts of and wanting divorce, but there are so many signs and red flags that I didn’t notice before, or maybe didn’t want to accept, that make me think that divorce is by far the best option. I have always striven to treat my wife like a queen and to provide everything she needs, but I can’t do that anymore because of where I am mentally….I still treat her kindly but I don’t show her love to the extent that I used to because the love in my heart has been greatly diminished due to my overall unhappiness over the last year. Honestly, I want a divorce, I am just scared of the impact it will have on my wife. I am also scared of what my family will think of me if I get a divorce not even one year into a marriage, at the age of 24 no less. I guess I just need some perspective from an unbiased person.

    Just as a side note, divorce has been a subject of discussion for me and my wife as early as a few months into our marriage. At first, It was always her who brought it up and I never even considered it an option until about halfway through our marriage when I started feeling like I couldn’t live this way any longer.

    Thank you for your help, Karen.

    • Okay. You’ve asked a lot. I’ll do my best to help. Just remember – you asked! (Sorry for the tough love! I’m just trying to help!)

      First off, maybe you rushed into marriage, maybe you didn’t. The fact of the matter is that you’re in it now. So now you need to decide what you’re going to do to either make it work or leave it.

      It sounds like you and your wife have a lot of communication issues. Partly because of those issues, and partly because neither you nor your wife probably had any idea about what being married really entailed before you got married (Sorry. I’m not judging. I’m just calling it the way I see it!), you now both feel like you’re not loved. It’s not at all surprising that you don’t show your wife love anymore. When you don’t feel loved by your wife, you stop feeling loving toward your wife. The problem is, she is probably feeling exactly the same way! So the two of you are locked in a downward spiral that is threatening to take down your marriage.

      At this point you’ve got to break that cycle, or your marriage isn’t going to last. Going to marriage counseling is great start. Yes, it’s also work. But relationships ARE work! Marriages ARE work! Should they also be fun? Yes. Absolutely. But they’re also work. (Sorry!)

      Of course, if you’ve married the wrong person, they’re way more work than they need to be. What’s more, if you’ve married the wrong person, sometimes all the work in the world can’t make your marriage work. But, what you need to find out right now is: Did you marry the wrong person? Or, is the problem just that you and your wife don’t have the skills you need to make a marriage work?

      Here’s why it’s important to do the work now to figure out the answer to that question.

      If you and your wife are truly incompatible, then getting a divorce may be the way to go. But if the problem is more of a “skills” issue, that’s something that you can fix. (That, will, however, take work.) “Skills” issues are also something that will follow you into every relationship you have in the future. So, if you don’t fix them now, they WILL show up again … and again … and again … until you deal with them.

      Please understand that I’m not judging or blaming you here. I’m not saying that all the arguing you do is YOUR fault. I’m not – not by a long shot! But unfortunately, the only person you can control in your relationship is YOU! So, if your communication skills could use a little polishing – do that! See if it makes a difference. While that won’t change your wife, it may be enough to change your relationship.

      On the other hand, if you do everything that YOU can do to improve your marriage AND yourself, and things are still not working, then you may end up divorced anyway. But if you spend your marriage being closed off to your wife, and keeping score, then how hard are you really trying to make things work? (Again, sorry!)

      I know this probably isn’t what you wanted to hear. If it doesn’t resonate with you, feel free to hit the “Back” button on your browser and forget about it. But, if it strikes even a tiny chord of truth inside of you, at least think about it.

      I wish you the best.


      PS If you want more fun in your life, what could YOU do to create it? Could you whisk your wife away for a surprise romantic dinner or a weekend away? Could you “wine and dine” her like you did before you were married? … just a thought.

      • Wow, what a prompt response. Thank you much for your words, Karen, you have given me a lot to reflect on. I appreciate the tough love!

        • You’re welcome! As for my response time, I have so many comments to respond to here, sometimes it takes a while! So, you got lucky! Hopefully, that’s a good sign!


  • Hello, oh boy where do I begin. I’ve been married for 26 years, just turning 50. I had 4 beautiful children with my husband, my youngest graduating from high school this year. The first 10 years were wonderful, being strong in our faith and we were inseparable, I was so happy. Unfortunately it all changed when PORN came into our marriage like freight train. He became so addicted it controlled his life, even continually putting his government job on the line. It changed him, I continually begged him to stop, cried and threw a fit every time I caught him. It then started to control my life as well, always tying to catch him so I could get attention to stop, but he just became more sneaky in his addiction. He just didn’t care, I felt like I was raising my kids on my own, even though he was present in the home he was putting in less than 50% into our marriage and family. The years went by and with every year that passed I began to fall out of love and started to resent him. We went through several ultimatums to stop or I would divorce him, to trying to set boundaries which just ended up in disappointment. Over the years I begged him to get help but he just didn’t care or want to quit. Moving on past 15 years I was moving toward a divorce, I just gave up on him and I didn’t care if he was looking or addicted or what he was doing. It was so freeing to give up that burden. My mind was made up, I just didn’t care anymore and wanted a divorce. Just after that I went on a 4 month detail for my job in CA, and got swept away buy a guy that made me feel alive and sexy again. When I got back I told him what had happened and still wanted a divorce. At that point he humbled himself, and started to take steps to fight his addiction and get the help he needed to kick his addiction. Told our kids and now has their support. Now 2 years later, we are still married but been living in separate bedrooms the whole time. He has changed a lot, says he’s kicked it for good and begges me to stay and not get divorced. I still have love for him as person and I’m happy for his efforts but I’m not in love with him, he does everything for kids and tries to wait on me hand and foot. He trying to make it up to me and the kids because he’s so sorry, but I just look at him differently even though I have compassion for his effort. I have so much pressure from kids to stay because he’s changed. Reminding me of all the holidays we could spend together and other family gatherings that wouldn’t take place. Theyre trying everything to get us back together. They continually ask…why can’t I forgive him now he’s changed and give him another chance!?!? I’m at a loss because he continually says he can make me happy again. I see the hurt in his eyes and I can see he’s truly sorry and wants to work it out, but I feel like there’s to much that has happened to ever go back, I still don’t care because he pushed me to far for to long, but he continues to paint a picture of a lost fairytale. How do I go back when I’m so exhausted with everything. I’m depressed and riddled with anxiety. Now he’s putting 100% and I’m putting in 0%. How can I make everyone happy and still take care of myself? I’m not sure why I’m still here and didn’t divorce two years ago like I had planned. I feel like since I didn’t do it back then and I still want the divorce everyone would put the blame on me. Any advice would be very much appreciated.

    • I can understand why you’re so conflicted. And, unfortunately, I have some hard news for you. I think you’re right. At this point, everyone will blame you if you divorce your husband (Sorry!). Your kids will blame you for not giving your husband a second chance. And, to the world, you will probably look like the bad guy.

      Just because people may blame you for not sticking around, however, that doesn’t mean you’re stuck. All it means is that you will have to learn to live with their judgment.
      The truth is, you’re probably going to have to do that anyway,

      Like it or not, people judge other people all the time. So, whether you stay or whether you go, people will judge you. The bigger question is: are you willing to do what you believe to be right in spite of their judgment?

      Doing that is hard! But being true to yourself is ultimately the only way to be happy.

      So, what does being true to yourself mean? Do you stay with your husband? Or is it time to divorce?

      Those are questions only you can answer for yourself. Why didn’t you leave two years ago? I don’t know your personal reason, but from a big picture standpoint, my guess is that you stayed because you have some kind of conflict inside of you. Part of you wanted to leave. Part of you wanted to stay. So staying won out because it was the path of least resistance. (That’s how humans work.) It also may have won out because you told yourself staying was best for your kids. But now your kids want you to stay even more. So your inner conflict grows.

      I don’t know what’s at the heart of the battle that’s going on inside you. But until you figure that out, you’ll stay stuck.

      I strongly suggest you find a good therapist who can help you dig inside yourself to help you figure out what your conflict is all about. You have the answers inside of you. You know what you want to do and why you want to do it. You’ve just buried your answers underneath a lot of other stuff. When you’re willing to start digging, you’ll find what you’re looking for.

      Hope this helps.


      • Hello!
        I have been married for 22 years, since I was 19. Things went well the first 10 years of the marriage, and then we had kids. It was always the plan. My spouse worked 30 hours a week at low level jobs during the first few years, while I worked full time and went to college full time, paid my own college and completed my degree. Since I got my first full time salaried job, he’s refused to work more than 18-20 hours. Just before our first was born, he quit and hasn’t worked since-even though I’ve requested he work nearly every year since – (12+ years now).
        He’s been emotionally and financially draining on me and emotionally abusive to our kids (constant griping and belittling). He recently got mad and told me he never wanted to be married or have kids. I’ve been in therapy and the kids too, for a few years. He refuses to go, always has-calls it bunk. 6 months ago I decided I was done and needed a divorce. I asked him to move out, explained things to his mom, but he refused to leave. He had just gotten a 10 hour a week job last month, but refuses to add more hours, stating he doesn’t want to, and wants to spend time on his hobby.

        His mom convinced him to go to counseling (though nothing I said or did for 12 years got him to go). He now is saying that since he went to a few sessions, I should just get over it and let him stay and then he can quit his new job. I told him to move out again, since he ignored that request for 6 months -as he is still horrible to the kids (and won’t speak to me.)
        He finally got an apartment, and moved recently -but is now threatening to try to force me in to paying him nearly $1000 a month for his expenses. My single income (teacher salary) is not enough to afford that plus the entire house bills, therapy/tutoring for our special needs child, and medical insurance (the state I work in does not provide affordable insurance -I have to pay about %25 of my income already, just for that.

        *I feel like I’ve done %110 for the last 20 years, and I’ve begged and tried everything. Now he’s asking for another chance-but I don’t want to give it. How do I get over my inherent compassion for others and just sign the paperwork to file?

        • Okay. If you’re not ready for a little “tough love” you may want to hit the BACK button on your browser now. (I’ll say a blanket “Sorry” in advance! Just know that I have your best interest at heart here! I’m only saying what I say in order to help!)

          Is it your “inherent compassion for others” that is keeping you from signing the paperwork, or is it guilt? Or, maybe it’s fear – you’re afraid that if you file for divorce you just may have to pay him spousal support, and you don’t want to do that? (Maybe I’m wrong. If I am, I apologize.)

          If it IS fear that’s holding you back, the way to combat that fear is by educating yourself about divorce. You need to learn as much as you can about what the divorce process will look like for you. I also suggest you talk with a good divorce attorney in your area and find out whether you may indeed have to pay alimony to your husband if you divorce. If you will, then you need to know how much will you have to pay and how long you will have to pay it.

          Getting all that information is scary. But NOT KNOWING the information doesn’t change anything. It just keeps you in the dark. Fear grows in the dark. You’re far better off knowing what you have to deal with now. That way you can start to prepare yourself for what lies ahead.

          As for whether you give your husband another chance or not, I can’t decide that for you. But before you answer that question for yourself, you might want to do some deep soul searching and be brutally honest with yourself. What do you want from a marriage? What do you want to teach your children? If your husband changes now, would you be willing to stay? Or are you done?



  • I have been with my husband for 15 years. In the beginning he was the bread winner, but he became disabled, so I went to school and now have a career beyond what either of us ever hoped for. Hes not a bad guy- he loves me, and hes mostly a good father. But because of his disability he is addicted to prescription pills (way beyond what is prescribed), and that has taken over his priorities. In addition, hes beyond lazy. I work 60 plus hours a week, and come home to a dirty house and no food cooked almost every single day. Its exhausting. Furthermore, he lies constantly about what hes doing during the day- and I get home and discover he has slept/watched TV/played on his phone ALL day. I have almost all of the responsibilities for adulting, paying bills, etc. I have more ambitions to do even more with my life, and not just career wise. He talks like he is ambitious too, but hes done absolutely nothing to better himself in anyway. Nothing. Just talks. Its so frustrating. I have built these resentments over the years and now I am at the breaking point. Everyday coming home to a dirty house while Im literally busting my ass at work constantly. Also my brother committed suicide two years ago yesterday, and he I feel really wasnt there for me emotionally, and continues not to be. He thinks all I do is nag and put him down. I dont know what to do. I cant live like this anymore, his lack of energy brings me down as well and I feel I could do so much more with my life without the constant dissapointments, resentments, and ultimately anger. Any advice would be great.

    • It sounds like the root of your problems is your husband’s addiction. If you dealt with that, everything else could (possibly) change. So the question is: Is he willing to deal with his addiction? Are you willing to stay with him if he tries?

      I’m sure you’ve talked to your husband many times about his lack of contribution to the house. But, what most people don’t realize is that the WAY you have that conversation matters.

      Right now, when you talk, all your husband hears is nagging and blame. Yet, it sounds like you’re at a turning point. You are now ready to walk away. That changes everything.

      You may want to have an honest conversation, first with yourself, then with your husband. Try not to be judgmental or “nagging.” You want to talk very factually and without emotion about how YOU feel and what YOU want. You also need to tell your husband exactly what you need to have changed. BUT you can’t tell him what to do! Instead, present the problem and ask for his help in finding ways to deal with the problems. (Like, “When I come home from work and I’m tired and hungry, and there’s no food and the house is a mess, I feel angry. How can we get the house cleaned and dinner on the table y 7:00pm? Possible solutions are: Have the kids chip in. Hire a housekeeper? Have me move out and then it won’t matter?” etc.)

      Know that you can’t accuse, blame or judge your husband. The minute you do that, he will stop listening to you. Also, he has to have a CHOICE as to what he does. Ultimatums don’t work.

      You also want to PLAN the conversation: if you just blurt out all your feelings during the middle of an argument, your husband is not likely to respond well,

      You may want to ask yourself these questions: What would need to change in your life in order to make you want to stay? If your husband cleaned the house and made dinner, would that be enough to save your marriage? Or, would you still feel like you wanted a divorce? What about your relationship with him? What would have to change in your relationship in order to make you feel like you wanted to stay married?

      Those are all deep questions. A good therapist can help you explore those questions and more. You might want to look into getting yourself a therapist so you can start to work through all this. (A good therapist will also help you discover why you ended up in this situation in the first place. Once you know that, and you heal those wounds, you can keep yourself from making the same mistake in the future.)

      You also may want to get a legal consultation. If you got a divorce, what would happen to your kids? Your finances? Would you have to pay support? If so, how much and for how long? It may sound cold and calculating, but before you make ANY decisions, you need to know what the likely consequences of those decisions may be.

      Finally, give yourself a break. You’re dealing with a LOT, and you’re probably exhausted! Would it be possible for you to schedule a weekend away somewhere, just so you can sleep, think and re-charge a little bit? When you’re tired, you don’t think clearly. So, you might want to schedule a little “me” time every week, just to give yourself the space to start dealing inside yourself with what you’re dealing with outside yourself at the moment. (If you started seeing a therapist, you could plan to spend an hour after your session at a coffee shop. That way you could do both at the same time.)

      I wish I had better things to tell you. Just know that – no matter what you do – you will get through this tough time.

  • One thing to add- we have three kids. We have hid alot from them but they know some of whats going on. We dont fight in front of them, but we ignore in front of them. I think being apart would effect them so much more than being together. And also, I am scared that he will take me to the cleaners financially. I think it could get really nasty between us. Again, thanks for any info.

  • Ive been with my husband for 10 yrs our 7 yr marriage anniversary is coming up in a few mo ths. Our releationship has always been up and down. We have overcome sooo many obstacles but these past 3 yrs have been awcul. My husband got stuck on heroin and we lost everything! My children got removed because of it. I fought so hard to get custidy of my kids after losing them. I stuck by my husband side even though he didnt do any of the things the social worker asked.(classes,drug testing or counseling) he still continues to use hes verbally and emotionally abusive towards me. Ive given him the ootion either get clean or i leave! He tells me that i just want to be able to “mess around with other people” he constantly accuses me of cheating even though i havent and there hasnt been any suspicion! My kids were in foster care for 11months5 of those months i was honeless o. The street with him (i was sober he wasnt) he refused to get clean id cry and plead but it was always the same thing hed tell me hed get help and it would never happen. Hed fight with me to the point were id just feel like i had no reason to stick around he would tell me i wasnt a loss to him if i left but after would apoligize. The past 2 months he ran around the while ive been in a homeless program (only way i could get our kids back in my custody) just getting high and doing who knows what- everytime id call him hed either forward my call or say hed call me back and usually NEVER did.. Hes overdosed on heroin several times just in one year!!! He recently got arrested and he promises that when he gets out hes going to get clean but ive heard it too many times i love him so much but i feel like there has been so much damage i dont know if its fixable. I feel guilty for not wanting to be with him i feel like im doing something wrong. Im scared how he’ll react when he gets out

    • It sounds like you’ve been through a lot. Living with an addict is really hard. The hardest thing is knowing that you can’t change your husband, or fix him. The ONLY one who can help your husband is himself. Unless and until he’s ready to get clean and sober, there is ZERO you can do for him. (Sorry!)

      I don’t mean to be mean, but at this point, you need to take care of yourself and your kids. Period. A good way to start doing that is to start goint to Al-Anon programs. Al-Anon is a support group for families and spouses of people with addiction problems. If you can find a good therapist who will work with you on a sliding scale fee basis, that would be a good idea too.

      Right now you need help and support. Do everything you can to get it.



  • I’m afraid I need advice too. We’ve been married 26 years, have 2 children and spent at least 19 of it as a military family moving on average every 2 years. When we hit 40, things changed for us. He was driven by work and I put my efforts into the kids. When he retired, I thought he would be at home more (he traveled A LOT in the military). But he took a job across the country in California. I told him we weren’t moving as the kids had been in 5 schools before 4th grade. One year later he moved to Florida. I told him we weren’t moving. One year later, he came home for a bit and then took a job in WV. I asked him why he couldn’t find a job in the town we lived in and he said there were no jobs here that he wants. I was heartbroken because we sacrificed our lives to move and support him all these years, but he can’t/won’t sacrifice for us. Again, he’s driven by the push-it-up jobs, the 14 hour work days and weekends, etc. We haven’t really lived together in 5 years. Of course we visit each other when we can, but it feels more like a friendship now than an actual marriage. My youngest is going to college this summer and the looming question is, Am I going to move to be with him or divorce? We care about each other and I truly believe he wants the best for us. He tells me that he won’t be in this job forever and plans to move again in a few years. I told him I would move AGAIN to try and work on our marriage but only if we go to counseling and give 110% to our marriage. He said he’s not sure he can do that and that he had to really think about it. To be honest, I completely understand what he’s saying because I’m not sure if we can get to a good marriage again. Any advice would be great.

    • It sounds like you’ve both got some doubts here. That’s understandable. It also sounds like you’ve been apart more than you’ve been together for the last 26 years! That has to be hard!

      The question you each need to answer is: what do you want? I mean, what do you REALLY want?

      If you want to stay married to him, you have to be willing to accept that that might mean moving multiple times again. (Sorry. But that does seem to be his pattern.) If he wants to stay married to you, he might have to be willing to put more time into the relationship. Working 14 hour days doesn’t leave much time for a marriage.

      Given all that has been pushing the two of you apart for all these years (especially the last 5 years) putting your marriage together will probably require help. That means marriage counseling. If you’re both not willing to TOTALLY commit to going to marriage counseling and making your marriage work (like you said by putting in 110%) things aren’t looking good for you.

      Should you move again to go to marriage counseling and see if you can make your marriage better? Unfortunately, only you can answer that question. But unless you both are willing to go “all in” on your marriage, your chances of making things work don’t seem particularly great. (Sorry!)

      Hope this helps.


  • I’ve been with my husband for almost 8 years. Been married for 3. Things are getting very rocky because I’m starting to get so tired of walking on eggshells all the time wondering what I will mess up and make him mad or what he will call me stupid for. If I dont do exactly as he says, he gets angry. If I do something most people would consider silly, I’m dumb and need an IQ test. I’m starting to get to the point I just stop caring. Dont talk to him, kiss him, hug him unless he does it first. He acts like me and our son are an inconvenience or a burden. Complains when our son is being noisy when hes trying to read, or he has a headache. Hes lied to me on multiple occasions. I would ask him questions I already knew the answer to and he would lie and I would call him out. I actually left one night a few weeks ago and stayed away until well into the next day. I can see hes kinda attempting to get better, but its just so hard to care at this point and fight anymore.

    • There is such a thing as a “point of no return.” Once you’ve put up with too much for too long you pass the point of no return. After that, no matter how much your spouse changes, you just can’t care or want to be with him any more.

  • Hello,

    My husband and I have been together for 6 years and married for 4. My husband has always been a workaholic. I feel like it is more important to be productive at work than he is at home. I also work full-time but yet I am still in charge of all the housework and taking care of the kids mostly. Also, he is notorious for never paying his medical bills and they end up in collections. I am the one who always has to figure out how to fix the problem. Therefore I am also in charge of most of the finances. Over the years, we have both made some poor financial decisions resulting in a lot of debt. We have been struggling so much financially but I have been working hard to keep us above water and also working extra on the weekends. I have made my feelings known throughout the years. Things will get better but only temporarily. Filing for divorce has been weighing heavily on my mind lately. I’m just not sure if my feelings are justified.

    • Feelings are feelings. I don’t know that they need to be “justified.”

      If you want to deal with your feelings effectively, however, you need to get to the bottom of them and deal with them.

      It sounds like you’ve got a lot of resentment towards your ex for being such a workaholic all these years. Interesting that, even though he’s a workaholic he can’t seem to pay his bills.

      It sounds like there is a whole lot going on in your marriage that you and your husband need to talk through and deal with. The fact that things are always only better temporarily means that no one has made any lasting changes.Unless you want to keep riding this roller coaster forever, something has to change.

      If you haven’t tried marriage counseling yet, that would be a good place to start. It’s usually covered by your medical insurance, so, hopefully, it won’t cost you a fortune.

      Whether it’s time for you to divorce or not, I can’t say. But I can tell you that unless you and your husband find a way to truly work on your marriage, and on yourselves, things are likely to start to fall apart more and more. (Sorry!)

  • Hi I’ve been married for only 17 months and we’ve been together for 5 years all together the beginning of the relationship was SUPER rocky he had a lot “ girlfriends “ . He went away for a year and half and I moved with a family member . When he came back he asked me to come back , I decided to come back . When we finally got past all the drama everything was perfect , then he happens has to go to jail for 60 days. we agreed on getting married before he left . Everything was perfect maybe not perfect for him . Maybe a couple weeks being back home he started doing things hes done Before texting females has tried to make plans for them to sleep together. Having females send him nudes And it isn’t just one female it’s multiple including his ex girlfriends and just random girls and I end up catching him and then he apologizes and then maybe about 3-5 weeks later it happens all over again I’m so confused because I would think that I would be able to fix this but I don’t know how we would be able to get past infidelity. is it time for us to get a divorce? or should I do something else or should I try to make it work ?I’m so confused drained hurt ,emotionally physically ,and mentally and he doesn’t seem to understand how I feel. I do suffer from aniexty , depression , emotional personalities , & bi polar . I don’t know if I’m overreacting or maybe issues coming to it and I’m just scared to end it because I don’t know what I would do without him I do love him so much and that’s what scares me the most . can you please help me and guide me on what to do next I would love your advice please and thank you so much for listening if anyone else may have any help for me you can always contact me

    • Okay, first, you need support! While it’s great to ask for advice here, you really might want to consider getting a therapist who could work with you on a more regular basis. It sounds like you’ve got a lot going on!

      Next, thinking you can “fix” your husband is a big mistake. You can’t fix him. You can’t change him. The only one you can control is YOU.

      It sounds like your husband has a bit of a problem. It’s not okay to be married and getting nude texts from other women. It’s just not.

      I strongly suggest you and your husband consider going to marriage counseling too. That could help. But, even if he won’t go, getting an individual therapist for yourself can help a lot.

      I wish you the best.


  • I’ve been married for 20 years and we have 3 great kids in their teens. I feel we are in this marriage for the sake of the kids. We do not communicate much more than what’s needed to manage our kids. I feel our marriage is loveless, rarely intimate, never kiss or touch. I have become numb to any feelings. We used to argue about our marriage expectations 5-7 years ago but got to a point that we both realized things weren’t going to change. We settled for how this relationship was/is but I am unhappy. He seems to be unhappy too. He is not abusive and is a pretty good dad. I just find it impossible to talk to him. He doesn’t respond to most of what I say or dismisses me like I’m asking a dumb question. He doesn’t initiate conversation or seem interested in me. I am to the point of feeling uncomfortable to be with him alone because it is so awkward. We just do not have the same interests or anything in common other than our kids. I am lonely in this marriage and believe he probably is too. Neither of us have been unfaithful. He is a successful business man. I do work also but he is the bread winner. I feel like he stays in it for the image of a happy family and he likely thinks I stay in it for financial security. Other people love him. He comes off as a fun, happy go lucky guy but when he’s at home he is not the same guy, at least with me. Our only daughter notices this too. I feel she is an extension of me and he treats her like me, different than our boys. I have brought up counseling in the past. He refused to go. At this point, I don’t know if I even have the energy or desire to work on our relationship. I’m not sure what to do but I feel we both deserve love and happiness. I’m just not sure it’s possible together. My main concern is our kids and how ending our marriage could affect them. It’s never a good time but I don’t know if I can wait 8 more years until they are all grown. Open to suggestions.

    • Being in a loveless marriage is rough!

      First of all, everyone assumes that staying married until the kids are 18 is the best thing you can do for your kids. I have to tell you: That’s absolutely not true!

      Sure, staying married while your kids are young tends to give them a more stable home life. But getting divorced as soon as your youngest turns 18 often traumatizes your kids as much or more as getting divorced when they’re younger. (Adult children of divorce suffer too!)

      What’s more, kids learn by example. By staying together, especially if your husband treats you and your daughter differently than he treats your sons, what are you teaching your kids about marriage?

      Will a divorce affect your kids? Yes. Absolutely. But it will affect them no matter how old they are when it happens. So, the bigger question for you is: What do you want? Do you want a divorce now? If not, why not? What are you really afraid of? (… because we’re all afraid of something. If you weren’t afraid something bad would happen if you did what you want, you’d already have done it.)

      Once you figure out your own truth, then it’s time to have a heart-to-heart with your husband. It doesn’t sound like he’s any happier about your marriage than you are. Maybe he would be relieved to know that you are open to calling it quits and starting a new life. Or maybe that will be his wake up call to go with you to counseling. (I hate to say it, but that happens a lot!)

      None of this is easy. I know that. But, if you try to stay in this marriage without changing anything, you’re either going to get angrier and angrier, or you’re going to look elsewhere for love. (You might not think that, but you’d be surprised at how often people who never though they would cheat, cheat!) Unfortunately, cheating just adds a whole extra layer of pain and complexity onto an already tough situation. (Or maybe he’ll cheat? Who knows!)

      Hope this helps.


  • Hey Advisor I have been married 7 years and it has has been a bumpy road I have been dealing with infidelity on and off the entire marriage I also have been dealing with verbal abuse after year 4 I began to partake in the bad behavior of being with another man outside of my marriage in hopes to help me get over what I was going throughout in my marriage ultimately that didn’t help but made things worse and he still continued to cheat he is a great dad and a good provider but I feel like I can’t trust him I cry all the time and blame myself I have been contemplating divorce eels like forever but I’m scared of being homeless and alone but i know I deserve better but I can’t seem to go through with it I know it sound ridiculous but his is true I need advice badly !!

    • With all due respect, it sounds like you already know what to do. You are just scared to pull the trigger because you don’t want to be homeless. Unfortunately, fear of being alone doesn’t provide a strong foundation for staying in a marriage you don’t want to be in.

      I have no idea what your financial situation is, nor is it wise to put your financial details out on the internet. But if you’re truly worried about being homeless, then building yourself up financially is a good place to start.

      Like it or not, if you get a divorce, you’re going to have to support yourself. You’re also goign to have to deal with being alone. If you can start dealing with both of those issues now, while you’re still married, you will put yourself in a much better, stronger, healthier place. From that place you will be better able to make a decision about your marriage that is based on solid ground, rather than just on fear.

      By the way, I fully understand that none of this is easy. All I can tell you is, it’s worth it.

  • Hi Karen-
    I have been married for 23 years to my wife. Over the past 4 years, I have lost nearly 140 lbs and have found a new lease on life. I have such a drive and ambition to try new things and adventures, but primarily want to do it on my own. My wife, at first, did not want anything to do with this… which was fine by me as this is my journey and I wanted to do it on my own. I joined a running group with like minded individuals whom have also lost a lot of weight and are taking on new journeys. My wife saw a picture on social media with me and this group at a local race. This obviously stirred up some emotions with her and she actively went searching for my personal journal and read it. Of course my journal was a safe place to write out feelings and emotions about all different topics. This has now caused such insecurity with her. All of a sudden, my wife now wants to be part of these running groups and is finding out what other races I am signed up for so she can join. These groups are my friends and my time to ‘get away’ and be an individual. By her wanting to tag along has really taken away my since of individualism and makes me feel smothered. I asked her not to join as this was my time, but then the insecurities set in and she begins to question EVERYTHING I am doing.

    Recently she went out dancing by herself. She made it very clear to me that she was going by herself. I told her to have fun! When she got home, she started asking me questions, seeking to see if I was jealous, or missed her…even saying that she danced with other men. Is she trying to get a reaction out of me? At this point it really doesn’t bother me. To be very honest, my heart is not into this relationship. Her actions have really made me un-attracted to her and continues to make me feel smothered. I said that I will see a marriage counselor, but only if it is a neutral party and not an existing counselor she is already seeing. She thought I was being unfair in asking this. Deep down, I do not see myself with her…. I really want to tell her that I want to be alone and take on these new journeys by myself. Just not sure how long to ‘hang in there’ until I do tell her it is over.

    • Okay, first of all, congratulations on losing so much weight and getting a new lease on life! That’s awesome!

      As for your marriage, though, it’s time for a little “tough love” here.

      If you KNOW that you don’t want to be married and you want to be alone to rediscover yourself, then you need to be honest with your wife about that! If you are truly done with your marriage, than it’s time to deal with that! On the other hand, if there is still ANY hope that you can save your marriage, then going to counseling makes a ton of sense!

      As for who you go to counseling with, your request that it be someone neutral and new makes all the sense in the world. What your wife needs to understand is that being with someone neutral gives the two of you the BEST chance of working things out. While she would probably like to “stack the deck” so to speak by using her own counselor, if she does that then YOU are not going to trust that counselor, nor are you likely to be open to what that person has to say.

      Marriage counseling only works if BOTH partners buy into it and work at it. So, if you want to give your marriage the best possible chance of working out, you need to work with a counselor who will provide you with the best possible opportunity to do that.

      Finally, I know that you are feeling like a new person these days. But, if your marriage is good, throwing it away just because you’re “new” and it’s “old” might not be your best choice. Interestingly, you didn’t say much in your comment about the quality of your marriage over these past 23 years. Maybe that says something. I don’t know. What I do know is that you have some tough decisions to make and a lot of things to work through. Even if you don’t end up going to a marriage counselor, getting your own individual therapist wouldn’t be a bad idea.

      I wish you the best.


  • Hello, I need some advice please. My wife and I have been together for 4 years, married for 10 months. We have 3 children, 3.5 yr old, and twins will be 2 next month. our relationship was rocky from the start, we dated for a bit, then broke it off then tried again and eventually, she was going to end things due to doctors telling her she could not get pregnant. Turns out she could get pregnant YAY! However, during her first pregnancy she began treating me poorly, it got to a point where I told her, “If you treated me like this and weren’t pregnant I would be gone.” The way things were before pregnancy were great, and that is what I always expected things to be like, however things changed when she was pregnant and I understood how the body and mind change when pregnant so I accepted it (it took some research and time). So I always held onto the hope that she would “return” to her old self after our baby was born, then she breastfed which also affects the things, so held off my timeline of hope until breastfeeding was complete, however we were blessed with the pregnancy of our twins before breastfeeding was complete. This also pushed my hope back until she was breastfeeding the twins as well. We are now almost a year post breastfeeding and things have not changed. The manipulation, the laziness, the constant complaints about how she is always tired, or “feels like death”.
    I recently wrote down my thoughts, they might be a little jumbled and disorganized (see below), I apologize for that. I am not sure what to do. I am not happy being with her, but I don’t want to leave my kids, I have fears of if we get divorced I will be leaving my kids with her for at least 50% of the time and I fear she wont show them the attention they deserve, don’t get me wrong she will do whatever it takes to make sure their basic needs are met, but anything further than that I am concerned about.
    I am not happy and I fear or feel is it negatively affecting the kids.
    I don’t feel loved and supported, I have given up on our relationship aspect of us, I’ve tried many different ways and times to make it better but it always wound up in the same area.
    It feels I am constantly on edge or frustrated and honestly love coming home to my kids and seeing their happy faces and how they all am happy to see me, that is one of the best times of my day. But I also am so stressed and anxiety coming home to whatever mood you’re in that day. You are so negative and it drains me
    It just seems like it will never get back to where you were before, where you actually seemed happy to be with me. The majority of our conversations are you not feeling well how dirty the house is or how I’m not trying to bash on you or say it’s your fault, I really wanted to make this work, and tried so many times, I tried so many different ways to make you happy and everything I did always felt like it was never enough. It got to a point where I eventually just gave up. I’ve tried talking to you about things like dates and doing things, but you were always defensive and could never take responsibility or accountability for anything. So at first I accepted that and believed it was on me so I tried different things, I I tried to make sure every complaint you had about the house or my effort with the kids was completed. But once I finished the last complaint your mood, attitude, feelings towards me didn’t change. I tried this for months, but with no change I tried other things. And no matter what I felt like I tried it never seemed to promote any change in you. I tried asking you on dates but was told no, I tried planning dates a with everything set up from babysitter to what were doing, and times and everything and the majority to almost every time you said no or canceled last minute. It was disheartening. I couldn’t take the rejection anymore so I gave up. I even tried asking for a date for my birthday or xmas and told you that’s all I wanted but when it was time for you to deliver, you didn’t. Just felt like I was not important to you, the only thing that I was valued for was my duties as a father and cleaning. It is true you bought me things, but that was not what I was looking for. I wanted effort from you and it never felt like I got much of it.
    It truly breaks my heart that I cannot see my kids everyday it is the worst thing I will ever have to do. I tried to make it work with you, I tried to stay together for them, but it is just coming to a time where I am seeing JJ notice things and that’s the last thing I want, I don’t want to show our kids that his is what love and marriage is supposed to be like. I don’t want them seeing any negative things from us. I always told myself I would try to make things work until my kids started noticing things and I fear that time has come. I want nothing more than to have a positive mature adult co-parent relationship with you and our kids. I don’t want to be fighting with you about anything I want open communication and working together as a team. I want the kids to know we still love, respect and care for each other but just not in that way anymore. I don’t want anything negative feelings between us I want nothing but positive outcome from this. I can’t stress that enough.
    I noticed today 226 I have been holding in my anger with you, avoiding conflict with you, avoiding any interactions or conversations that would bring a fight or argument, and I have kept that inside and it has built up at times then I find myself being more short tempered when interacting, spending time with my kids and playing with them or helpi9ng them do hw and them not listening, so I became a little upset with jj and used a stern voice about him not listening or doing something right, it was then I started to think about why did I do that, what is the reason I was so upset with him about not writing his name correctly, he is 3 years old, maybe he truly doesn’t know how to do it and there I was getting upset with him bc of a perceived possibly false accusation. So I started thinking about it and came to- a possible realization that our relationship or lack thereof, and lack of real support I get from you is the root of my anger. So now I am not longer to hold in my thoughts, feelings, frustrations with you, if you are causing my pain then you should be the one dealing with it, not my kids.
    I have noticed you finding things to do around the house or leaving the house when kids are awake, and I always thought it was your laziness, but now, I know you are unhappy with me, but now it’s looking like you are unhappy with the kids as well.
    You take so many bathrooms breaks, or go lay down, or wait until the kids are awake or about to wake up for you to leave the house to the store or whatever chore you have, you don’t wait until the kids go to bed to get your exercise in. You do it when the kids are awake and we are all here. I just
    F it
    Are you even happy??
    What are your thoughts? I apologize for the length of my message.

    • It sounds like you’ve already decided that your marriage is over. If not, then I strongly suggest you try marriage counseling. With everything that has happened in your marriage, the best hope you have for getting things back on track is to work with a professional therapist.

      If your marriage is over and you want to move forward with a divorce, I STILL suggest you work with a counselor. Why? Because you said you want open communication and you want to work together with your wife as a team. That’s a fabulous goal, and it will be do so much good for your kids! It also doesn’t sound like you and your wife have been working together very well up to this point. What you may not know is that working together with someone as a team is a skill. It’s not something people are born knowing how to do. A good therapist can help you learn and build that skill so that you and your wife can effectively co-parent together moving forward.

      Hope this helps.


      • Thank you, I suggested making an appointment for a marriage counselor with my wife, but she always said no and told me, “I know what they are going to say, you should make more time for each other and spend more time together.” I suggested to follow that plan, however I never received any follow through. I apologize for my previous, emotionally filled message. Thank you for taking time to respond.

  • Hi, I have been married for 13 years. My wife has always been controlling and has a somewhat abrasive personality. I am much more laid back and passive. There were many red flags even before we got married. She has humiliated me in front of friends and family many times by bossing me around or just being generally rude. I went through with the marriage even though I don’t think I ever truly loved her. I think I could have but could never get past her abrasiveness. Maybe that’s why I stayed because I hoped she would mellow out. After our daughter was born things were really bad for a couple of years and then after she got a little older I started to feel like maybe we can make the marriage work. Then we had our son and the marriage went downhill again and hasn’t recovered. Our kids are now 7 and 5. I have told her that I don’t like the way she talks to me or the kids. She dismisses my opinions and is openly critical of me in front of the kids. She treats me like a child and says things like, “if you want me to treat you like a man you need to start acting like a man.” We have been to 3 different marriage counselors and things usually improve briefly and then eventually go back to normal. I am completely miserable in this marriage. I have been seeing a therapist on my own for a couple of months which has helped me a ton. I have been thinking or fantasizing about divorce for years and having someone to actually talk to about it has been great and given me some confidence as well. That said, I am really struggling with this decision. I thought I was ready to leave and even talked to my wife about it. She admits we have a loveless marriage but doesn’t want to end the marriage. When I told her I was thinking of leaving she made me feel really guilty. She even initiated sex which NEVER happens and I felt like she was using sex to manipulate me. She has definitely made an effort to y’all nicer and be more respectful but I think I have passed the point of no return. I don’t love her and I’m not physically attracted to her anymore. If our kids were grown it would be a no brainer. I would move out tomorrow. I am just terrified of hurting my kids. My parents divorced when I was young and had a messy divorce which definitely had an effect on me during my childhood. I feel like things would be more amicable with me and my wife. However, knowing her personality and her anger management issues, part of me is worried that things will get really ugly if I were to say I was done. I don’t hate her but I know I don’t want to be with her anymore. I think I also feel guilty because I have been checked out for a couple of years now. I did try before but just don’t think I have it in me to try anymore. We are still in marriage counseling but I don’t think I have it in me to try again. Even our therapist asked why are we trying to save this marriage. I know this is kind of a rambling message and I already know what I need to do but I just can’t seem to do it. I have always struggled with big decisions and my self esteem and confidence are pretty low which doesn’t help. Anyway, thanks for reading this and for all of your articles. They are very helpful.

    • Oh my! Where to start?

      First of all, kudos to you for being in therapy! That is exactly where you need to be if you want to boost your confidence and self-esteem. Both of those will help you act on the decision it sounds like you already made. (Yes. I know that you said you have problems making big decisions and that you don’t know what to do. But recognize for a moment that you’ve already made this decision! You don’t want to work on your marriage. You don’t want to try again. And you are definitely NOT happy! The only thing you haven’t done is followed through.)

      So, what to do? What’s holding you back? That’s what you need to figure out.

      Take some time, and ask yourself that question. Really ask. Listen to the answer (or 10) that come up for you. Don’t censor yourself. Just write down whatever comes up. Once you know what’s blocking you, you will be able to start dealing with it. But until you understand what you’re afraid of (nothing personal, but fear is ALWAYS at the bottom of this!) you can’t start to get past that fear. (Btw, your therapist can help you with this.)

      Finally, if you’re interested, from time to time I offer a retreat that I call D Day (ie Decision Day). It’s a one day retreat specifically designed to help people (men and women) who are struggling to decide whether they should stay or go. I don’t have the next one scheduled at the moment, but you can CLICK HERE to get on the notification list. As soon as I schedule the next one, I’ll let you know!

      Hope this helps.


  • I would love some advice. Married almost 11 years and together 10 months beforehand. We have a 6 and 9 year old and recently moved to a new state for my husbands new job since he was off for a year because he had quit his ministry type job. I have been stuck in this stuck state for 4 years. Went to counseling for 3 plus year and now I have 2 different life coaches trying to make myself stronger and also get clarity. Most of my support lives 5 states away but building it here.

    I am the breadwinner, probably earn 5 times more than my husband but then I have to do all the chores, cook, clean and pay all the bills. Life is so depressing. I married someone I am very incompatible with and is very religious, not spiritual. He is very extreme in his views and I feel like I am constantly on egg shells. If it were drinking, drugs or something outward it would be easier, but this type of marriage is masked by supposed goodness and never putting his family on priority. His daughter is 9 and doesn’t like him and constantly wishes we would get a divorce. My daughter has been in counseling for more than a year and I don’t feel like my daughter is protected and safe when I have work overnights. There is no physical abuse but just favoritism over my son and no relationship.

    I don’t believe in divorce, but this marriage is affecting my mental, spiritual and physical health. I have anxiety, sadness and not sure how it will work. I already have a live-in nanny coming this summer to help with homework, laundry, breaks and etc and divorce sounds so freeing. My husband isn’t fully on board but I have to do this to get the help and mental health I need and the kids. I have the house and all bills in my name and would not even want to ask for support from my husband and I would want 100% custody. I still think there must be something wrong with me because my husband is looks “so good” on the outside that why would I leave.


    • So many people look good on the outside! The problem is that when you’re living with them on the inside, it’s different!

      First of all, kudos to you on getting the nanny! That should free up some of your time so that you can get some rest and start to get a little breathing room. That should help a lot! Meanwhile, you need to ask yourself whether you want to get a divorce or not. It’s not an easy question.

      If you haven’t tried marriage counseling, and you are still willing to give your marriage a try, do it now! You will be much happier in your ultimate decision if you know in your heart that you did everything you could to save your marriage before you moved toward divorce. On the other hand, if you already know you want a divorce, going to marriage counseling might not make sense. Don’t beat yourself up. Don’t make yourself feel guilty. (My guess is that your husband is already doing that well enough!) Just have enough faith in yourself to admit your truth, whatever it is.

      Meanwhile, doing whatever you need to help yourself get clearer and stronger is a really good idea. Keep building a support group. Work on yourself. Do things to make yourself happy. (Yes, you can!)

      If you are going to go through a divorce (and it sounds like you are, but who knows?) putting yourself in the best emotional state when you start will help. You also need a plan. If you are facing divorce, having the right plan can make all the difference in how you go through your divorce and the outcome that you get. I know that sounds cold. It’s not. It’s real. A good divorce coach can help you make a plan that will work for you.

      If you’d like to connect with me, CLICK HERE.



  • Hey Karen,

    I need some help with a decision on whether divorce is the best option for me and my husband. We have been married for only 4 years, and we have two kids, ages 3 and 2. We never got a chance to have a real dating experience because I got pregnant and we decided to get married. He is active duty military and I worked in a different state, so I decided to quit my job to move with him and start our family. We have always gotten along really well, and he is a very kind man but he can be very selfish without realizing it. We also have totally different liabidos. I am a very sexual person and I need sexual attention a lot, but he never wants it. We usually go 3-4 months having sex only once. Whereas I need sex at least like 3-4 times a week, but he says he can’t handle that. He is a great guy, helps me with the laundry, helps with the kids.

    We have been in marriage counseling for about 4-5 months now and it feels like we’ve only learned how to get better at being best friends not lovers. We don’t have any kind of romance, no sexy touching, no cuddling, no kissing, no sex, no flirting- nothing. I am all about that but he doesn’t want it. It doesn’t occur naturally for him so he never thinks about it. Our counselor told him to try and engage in sex at least every 3 days and he never does it. It honestly feels like I married a friend and not a husband. Whenever I try to be a wife he gets irritable and says I’m “pressuring him” or “stressing him out.” I can never be myself around him because I am usually hyper and giddy and I like to touch a lot, and when I do that I get turned on, so you can see how I can never be myself. He rejects me whenever I try to engage him. We have tried viagra and it didn’t work.

    We have talked about divorce and said that we want to keep trying before we decide on that but we both agreed if we do divorce that we will do it as good friends and remain in close proximity for our kids and have it been almost unknown to them that we are apart, but once they get older I’m sure they’re realize daddy doesn’t stay overnight. But we both agreed we want this to be as painless for the kids as possible if we decide divorce is our best option.

    I guess I can confused on what to do because he is a great guy but we aren’t a married couple- we are just friends. He never cuddles me in bed, never tries to be sexy with me, never tries to make me feel sexy, never says sexy things to me, never tries to turn me on- he avoids it compeltely, and I don’t know if that’s a good enough reason to divorce. I feel guilty about it because it feels like I’ll be tearing the family apart because I am the only one not happy. My husband could have sex twice a year and be happy, meanwhile I am miserable living like this but everyone else keeps telling me to “suck it up” and deal with it because guys like him don’t come often. I am confused on what to do because I don’t want to make the wrong decision and ruin my children’s lives because of my “needs.”

    I don’t know what to do.


    • Oh my! It sounds like you’re doing the right things, and you’ve already tried a lot! Kudos to both you and your husband for being willing to work on your marriage, and for wanting a civilized divorce if things do go that way.

      The one thing you may not have tried is a sex therapist. A good sex therapist can help you and your husband deal with your issues in a way that a regular marriage counselor may not be able to do.

      Esther Perel is a world-renowned therapist who has done a lot of work with couples, both for “regular” marriage counseling as well as intimacy issues. She has an online program for couples called Rekindling Desire. That program may be able to provide you with insight that can help you. (Plus it’s affordable!)

      Also, here is a link to an intimacy coach I know. She’s in England, but if she works virtually she may be able to help too. Otherwise, look for a good sex therapist in your area. I don’t know if it will work, but it’s definitely worth a try!


      • Karen,

        My husband hasn’t really tried at all in our marriage until recently. He refused to acknowledge anything was wrong with our marriage for years. I spent 3 years crying to him every day telling him in miserable and he refuses to listen. I finally gave him an ultimatum a few months ago that if he doesn’t find us a marriage counselor, I’m leaving him. I was done at that point. I hated his guts. I used to cry to him all the time to help me fix our marriage and he always refused to listen. Finally, after threatening to leave him he found us a marriage counselor, the same one we have been going to since December. The only thing that feels different is how we talk to one another. Less hostility and anger. I was full of resentment and hatred for him because he treated me like crap for years, constantly ignoring my pleas for us to get help. Refusing to acknowledge anything was wrong. Finally, once we did get help from the counselor (I tried getting him to go years ago but he refused), I lost all my love for him. I used to desire him and want him, but now? I feel nothing but disgust. It feels like after all these years of him ignoring me and casting me aside, I’ve mourned our marriage and moved on from him. But part of me wants it to work for the kids. We have no romance at all. He says he doesn’t want sex. He doesn’t need it like I do. That if he forces himself to have sex that he will end up hating it and me. Everything we do revolves around him and what he wants. Sex is always when he wants it. He never tries to please me at all. He avoids all forms of sexual contact and doesn’t have any kind of interest in it. I’ve walked around naked before and it does nothing. I’ve tried pretty much everything and it has no effect on him. It’s like he’s asexual. It’s terrible. I’ve explained to him before that I need sexual contact to have a positive emotional relationship with him. It’s my way of expressing love and feeling loved by another. Without it, I just shrivel and wither away. I’ve explained this many times and he always says, “I know.” But then he never does anything to change it.
        He’s an amazing father and he is helpful around the house and with the kids but when it comes to our sex life he avoids it at all costs. No sexual trauma in his past and no he’s not gay. He just wants a marriage that doesn’t involve sex at all and I can’t live like this. It makes me resentful and hateful towards him. It makes me look at him like he’s less of a man, pathetic almost. I have such a strong personality and I’m confident and aggressive. He is passive aggressive and avoids conflict altogether and isn’t confident at all. He always acts like the victim and gets his feelings hurt by pretty much everything I say. He has an emotional response to everything at this point and I hate it. It’s like dealing with a 5 year old all the time. I don’t think sex therapy will work because 1. He will refuse to go and 2. He has no sex drive at all. There’s nothing that can be done to change his desire for sex because he has none. It’s like trying to flirt with a brick wall. He does nothing. Viagra doesn’t affect him either. Not even porn. He’s pretty much a robot and I hate living like this but I also don’t want to sacrifice my children’s lives because I’m “unhappy.” I don’t want to ruin their future because I can’t stand how weak my husband is, and how we have no sexual/emotional connection at all. It’s terrible. I feel so stuck.

        • I would bring up your sexual issues with your marriage counselor. If your marriage counselor seems hesitant to deal with your sexual issues, then get a sex therapist! (Not all marriage counselors are good at dealing with sexual issues!)

          The bottom line is that sex is important in a marriage! It’s also not unusual for two people to have different sexual drives. A sex therapist may be able to help the two of you get more in sync.

          If that doesn’t work (or if he won’t go), then you have a choice to make. Either you live in a sexless marriage, or you decide to get a divorce. Or, if your husband is okay with it, you could have an open marriage. Or, you could try a trial separation and see if that changes things.

          I know that some of these may not be appealing choices. But, if you have lost all of your love for your husband, as you say, and you’re not having sex, then your choices for moving forward are simply not going to be great. But, neither is staying stuck.



  • Hi, ive been married for 3 years. Ive been thinking about leaving him for a while now especially when he starts arguements out of thin ajr aboutbwanting a baby. I really dont want to bring a baby in such a toxic environment around someone who cant control their emotions. Hes not a bad guy, i have no animosity towards him. Im just tired, im tired of fighting, im tired of screaming. Im just unhappy and feel isolated. He never has nice things to say to me, let alone is he romantic. And maybe its not just him maybe its me too i know i have a part in this marriage failing too, but i do my best. I do everything around the house, i pay the bills i worki cook i clean. He always tells me how i never do anything when in reality im the one doing it all. All of our problems he blames me for. Soley me, I honestly dont remember a time when he cared about me, i left my family for him, moved in with him with the clothes on my back my family disowned me. I did all this because i really loved him. And now idk why i ever did. He screams at me ona daily basis i feel like nothing i do matters and he never cares about what i have to say. Thanks for listening

    • You’re welcome. But if you want someone who can listen to you in a much deeper way, and help you make progress to get yourself out of the situation you’re in (whether that’s by improving your marriage or getting a divorce) the person you really need to talk to is a therapist. S/he can help you figure out why you’re in the situation that you’re in and what you need to do to change it. A good therapist will also help you feel less isolated. I highly recommend that you find one.

  • Hello
    I have been married for 4yrs and 6yrs living together. I moved out of our shared house 5 months ago and I now live alone,
    because of our constant fight. She is verbally abusive and controlling. Her feelings always comes first and I feel she doesn’t consider my feel. She makes almost all the decisions in the relationship and when I give suggestions she is just useless. We are both employed. Our relationship have been rocky almost from the start. we have commutation problem, we are from different cultures and religions. I believe in God but she don’t. I know inside me that there’s no hope in further that we will still remains together due to our differences. We had a 5 year daughter together, I’m am good dad and take care of her very well. My wife is proud of me in that. I respect my wife, she is not a bad woman, but because of the huge differences we have, there is no hope. Deep inside me I want divorce, but I am afraid to the future. I left my country to live with her in her country. I don’t have friends, I was very committed to the family but now I feel so lonely. If there was no child involved, I would return to my home country, but for the best interest of the child I have to be around to support her in anyways. I have suggested counselling for us but she thinks is worth saving the relationship. I used to have a good relationship with her family, but now none of them contacts me. We have not file a divorce yet but I’m suspect my wife have stated fling (casual relationship) she travels, go partying. I also noticed that when ever we meet, I see guilty in her eyes. I have asked her we should file for divorce but she said she has mixed feelings and that divorce is all about what is the mind the rest is just pen and paper work.
    However, we were intimate 3weeks ago but it was all emotional both of us cried. She seduced me but before making love, she told me that it’s didn’t mean that we are going back together, in which I agreed. Now I’m waiting for the final decision. The truth is, I don’t want to go back with her because of everything. I want to see her happy and that is lacking with me. I always shutdown we she starts screening to me and it can take sometime weeks or month before we start speaking to each other and that’s hurts her alot. I think that’s my weakness and she cannot just take it anymore, I have to be honest. I’m sure if you get back together, the first month would be great but after that the old life will continue. I just feel lonely ???? and feel scared to the future. Even though I know divorce is a good option. Right now we don’t communicate often, only about the child issue. But we are friends I don’t talk bad about her and I guess she too. Please I need advice because I’m so confused.

    • I can understand why you’re confused. You and your wife are caught “in between.” It sounds like neither one of you is completely committed to your marriage, but you’re also not excited about getting a divorce. I don’t blame you.

      I can also understand that you feel lonely. I’m not surprised. It would be very helpful if you could find someone to talk to. Talking to a therapist would be perfect, but I don’t know where you live or whether that’s an option. If it is, take it. A good therapist can be exactly what you need right now.

      I also suggest you look for a good divorce support group if you can find one.

      It also wouldn’t hurt to strengthen your ties to your family and friends. Even if they live far away, there are so many video conferencing options available these days, that having “face time” with them is easier than ever.

      The bottom line is that you need support. You need someone to talk to. That will help you from feeling so alone. It will also give you the strength to go through with a divorce, because it sounds like that’s what you’re facing. (Sorry!)

      I know this is a scary and confusing time right now. Just know that you WILL get through it. But having people around who you can talk to will definitely make things easier.

      I hope this helps.


  • Hi Karen, I’ve been with my husband for 9 years and married for 1. I want to leave him to take a break but fearful for the coming changes. Most importantly, concerning his wellbeing if I did leave him. He’s a very nice person, still is. Loving, supportive and caring. We’re best friends. The reason I wanna take a break from him is because he doesn’t have a career. He has a job, not a career due to his high school degree only. And he doesn’t do anything to explore his hobbies. We’re living in another country where he can’t speak local language and he has no intent of learning. So basically I went through and set up everything for us and our daily life. I tried to motivate him with a lot of things, came up plans for his development so that he might have better job opportunities. I often was the one with ideas and initiating new things between us. Years after this pattern, I’m tired. I don’t feel attractive to someone that is not progressing, I don’t look up to him and I don’t believe in him anymore. I’m so torn with this decision, so torn that every time when I decided in my mind, my heart went soft thinking about how he took care of me and how he supported me. We had numerous conversations regarding this topic that if he continues living like this, we cannot move forward to having a family. And yet again, nothing changes. So I went on living with him for a while, brushing the thoughts under the carpet until it surfaces up again. I feel like there’s no future being with him, and there are some many things I want to pursue in my life. What shall I do? All the little moments in our life reminded me how I enjoyed and was happy together. But I have no faith in continue a marriage like this.

    • I can hear how frustrated and conflicted you are. Unfortunately, brushing your feelings under the rug never resolves them. (Sorry!)

      I don’t know if you have access to marriage counselors wherever you’re living, but I would strongly suggest that you start there. I know it may seem unbelievable to you that your husband doesn’t realize how bad your marriage is, but he may not! What’s more, with things having been going downhill for what I suspect is a fairly long time, you’re probably going to need some help determining whether your marriage can be saved. A marriage counselor can help you out a lot.

      I also suggest being brutally honest with your husband. Let him know that you’re not happy and that your marriage is on the line. If he won’t go to counseling even when he knows that you’re heading toward the point where your marriage can’t be saved, then that tells you a lot. But, hopefully, he will.

      I wish you the best,


  • Hi Karen,
    I’ve been struggling for what feels like a long time with a husband that I feel like I’m dragging through life. When we met, he was a fun person, someone who took me on random adventures and had a care-free outlook. He was a kind person, helpful to a fault – would give anyone the shirt off his back. I fell in love with him hard. He was truly a good human. But over the last 4 years he has developed the worst attitude and complains about everything. He has chronic nerve pain in his back, but I swear I complained less during childbirth than he does in an average hour. I am emotionally exhausted from the whining. However, that is not one of my main issues. My main issues are trust and sex. In 2017 when I was 3 months pregnant, he lost his job. Then I found out that it was likely due to drug abuse when he OD’d on heroin when I was 6 months pregnant. I didn’t even know he was using drugs. I knew he had a problem in his early 20s, but I thought that he was past it, 15 years clean. I felt like such a fool for believing him when he withdrew large amounts of cash for “car parts” and other BS he supposedly needed. I felt like such a fool for ever being with him. I remember when I was going in to the hospital to pick him up after the paramedics revived him with Narcan that I was ashamed to be his wife. But I forgave him because I realize that addiction is a disease, I did think I loved him, and I wanted our unborn daughter to know her father. I was so afraid he would die. I was so afraid that if I kicked him out he would go OD again or kill himself. But I made it clear to him that if I find out he is using drugs again I will leave him and he will never see his daughter. This, however, has irreparably damaged and possibly destroyed all the trust in my marriage. I watch him like a hawk, I check bank accounts, ask for receipts, I even look through his phone when he’s asleep because I’ve caught him in several lies about spending money. Thankfully his drug tests have been clean, but he has a compulsive spending problem, and we barely make bills as it is. And it’s on stupid stuff like fast food and cigarettes. He tried telling me that it’s the only thing that makes him feel better, but I can’t seem to impress upon him that he is spending money to literally kill himself slowly. I haven’t told anyone any this because of the stigma of addiction and the judgments that follow. It was really hard to go through it alone with zero support. I still cry daily because I still have no sense of security or stability. I was pregnant, working full time, picking up extra part-time shifts on the weekends, and nursing a recovering addict. It made me resent him for ever putting me in this situation and this role of the nagging wife. I was different before this – what I consider a serious betrayal. He makes my life harder. Our sex life has also steadily been on the decline since about 3 years in (we’re 7 years deep at this point). Then, it seemed like he was only interested for procreation’s sake. Now, he always starts complaining of some ailment right before bed – his back, leg, head, stomach – SOMETHING is ALWAYS bothering him that he uses as an excuse to get out of sex. That or whenever he knows he has to have sex with me, he has to do 50 house chores first, some chores he would never have done otherwise. It’s like he’s hoping I will fall asleep waiting. I have tried talking to him about it, but he shuts down – just like when I try and talk to him about literally anything serious. He will say that he just “sucks at sex” and that he’s “broken” when I know full well that is not the case. Because it wasn’t always like this. We used to have sex daily. I’m overweight and that never seemed to bother him, either. Then when we bought a house and it was time to be grown-ups, it dropped off, almost instantly. We tried marriage counseling, but he quickly became frustrated with it, complaining that our therapist “wasn’t giving him answers or a diagnosis.” I tried explaining that is NOT how marriage counseling works. You can’t just get diagnosed and take a pill. He rolled his eyes and stopped going because he hates to do anything that requires effort. If it isn’t easy, he wants no part of it. I am really having a hard time with the defeatist attitude. He has completely given up in life because it isn’t going the way he thought it would, or the way he wanted it to. But that’s the thing about life – you get what you earn, and he doesn’t even try to improve his. He would rather sit on the couch staring at his phone all day. He claimed to be “hard core” looking for a job while he was unemployed and didn’t get so much as an interview in 5 months. I got sick of it, made him a resume and applied EVERYWHERE. I got him a job in ONE day. ONE. I was furious. This to me shows that he didn’t even try. Meanwhile, I was hugely pregnant and busting my ass 6 days a week trying not to go bankrupt. I felt like he didn’t care at all about me or my sacrifice. Reading over all of this, I realize that he is probably suffering from depression. But he doesn’t have health insurance and I can’t afford to put him on mine. So he has no counseling resources or access to medication. He was on anti-depressants a long time ago and claims that they only made him want to kill himself, so he is resistant to any type of anti-depressant. I feel like I’m at a loss and I’m out of ideas on how to improve our situation, if it can be. I realize that I am very lucky not to be in a physically abusive relationship, but being rejected constantly is taking a toll on me, as well as him snapping at me every time I talk to him. It’s like he never thinks of anyone’s needs aside from his own. After all this time, I’m wondering if I’d been better off divorcing him back then – if I made a mistake forgiving him. At this point, were it not for his financial contribution, I don’t know that I’d be happier with or without him. It makes me so sad to write that, but now I’m the one feeling defeated. Thank you for listening.

    • Oh my! Where to start?

      I can hear how unhappy you are. It also sounds like going to marriage counseling isn’t an option at this point. But getting your husband into individual counseling may be possible. Even though he doesn’t have insurance many therapists work on a sliding scale. There are also counseling centers that offer free or low-cost services. If he is willing to get help, that might be a place for him to start. (Going to counseling also wouldn’t be a bad idea for you, too! At least that way you’ll have some support.)

      The trouble is, you can’t control your husband or make him want to help himself. The only one you can control is you. So, now it’s time for a little tough love. (Sorry! I really mean this in the kindest way.)

      I can hear how frustrated you are by your husband’s behavior in so many ways. But, it’s time to recognize that, to a certain extent, you’ve also enabled him along the way. If you didn’t pay the bills when he overcharged things, what would happen? If you didn’t support him when he was unemployed, what would he have done? Yes, I know that not paying bills would have screwed up your credit too. But, the point is, both of you acted and reacted to each other in ways that got you to where you are now.

      The more important question is, what are you going to do about it?

      You’re not happy. So, what are you going to change? You said that, without his financial contribution, you might be happier without him. So, are you willing to stay because of that contribution? What are your options?

      I can’t answer any of those questions for you. But those are the kinds of questions you may want to start asking yourself if you want to change the situation you’re in.

      Hope this helps.


  • I have been married for almost 13 years. I got married young, age 19 and he was 20. We got pregnant soon after and now have an 11 and 9 year old. We have been through alot and have built our lives up together, both having come from lower income families. While we were younger, I suspected him of cheating, but never had proof. At one point, nearly 10 years ago, his sister had a friend much younger. I would walk in on her slapping his butt and walked up to him telling her one day that she made him hard. These were different times and both times he became angry with me when I confronted him and made me feel like a crazy person. While these were more in my face, other times have caused me to suspect cheating. I’ve never had any proof and he always denies. Recently, I learned new information about the situation with his sisters friend and suspect they were having sex while I was in the same house taking care of our kids when they were toddlers. I confronted him and he denied it again. About four years ago, he got arrested, a huge embarrassment for me due to my job. I wanted to leave him but felt financially stuck. I stayed and now he seems like the best husband anyone can ask for. As if he knew I wanted to leave and has a new appreciation for me. I am back in school, working full time and he is doing most of the cooking and housework. Problem is, now I feel like he holds me back. When I confide in things that I need, say as an introvert, he makes smart remarks. I take care of myself and he drinks alcohol every day. While he is doing so much right as a husband now, I have this nagging feeling of wanting to separate. I just can’t see myself ruining my kids’ stable home. I also am not sure if having something that happened so long ago should affect my decision. I do not suspect him of cheating now based on his behavior. However, I do often feel like he lies or twists truths. I would love to hear your thoughts.

    • It sounds like the problem you’re having is one that you never resolved from years ago. Just because your husband may have changed his behavior, that doesn’t mean that you’ve resolved the hurt that the old behavior caused. THAT is what you need to work on.

      At this point, getting professional help can make a huge difference. Even though your marriage may seem like it’s going well right now, the truth is it’s not. You don’t feel happy. You want to separate. Going to marriage counseling may help you get to the bottom of your feelings, and help you start to deal with the problems in your marriage. Doing that NOW, before your marriage gets damaged even more, can make a huge difference.

      Of course, going to counseling alone is no guarantee that everything will work out. But it’s a start. It will also give you a place where you can have the difficult, honest conversations with your husband that you may not have had in the past. Having those conversations isn’t fun. It’s hard. But not having them will keep you locked in the relationship you have now – which doesn’t sound like it’s a relationship you want to be in.

      Hope this helps.


  • Hi Karen,
    I was going to see if you could give me any advice or just an outside unbiased opinion. My husband and I have been together for 7 years-married3. It’s been rough the last couple years. He hates my family and it makes it difficult at times. I believe he has intermittent explosive disorder and he is constantly breaking things and yelling and overreacting when hes mad. He refused to even consider a doctor or meds until recently, but I still dont believe hes honest about considering it because he still gets defensive over it and reminds me he doesnt want to but he will if it helps. He hasn’t scheduled anything yet. There have been a few occasions of things escalating. I had bad postpartum after our child was born and didnt tell anyone until after i had gotten over it because I was afraid of what people would think and didnt realize its normal. He thought I was just being a bad wife and just neglecting him and the chores so he cheated and talked to several woman because he said he felt alone and neglected. It took me a year to find out he came home drunk and said he was out with friends he was actually out with an ex and they almost had sex. I forgave him but was having a hard time coping. A few months afterwards I made a mistake and out of spite i cheated on him. He found out and I didnt hide anything I was honest as to why I did what I did. I am not proud of myself. It did make me wonder if my marriage is what I want. The man was so nice to me and treated me so well. I’m not the best at communicating at times I try to keep stuff in to avoid conflict and it drives him crazy. I dont do it to make him mad and I try to get better to be more open but I feel like if I open my mouth and he doesn’t like what comes out he just gets angry and then we fight. We fight constantly. He doesnt want us to go to any therapy or counseling because he said we know our issues so its pointless. His biggest issues with me are he says I dont keep the house clean, I don’t try to mix things up or am basically kind of boring in the bedroom and we dont have sex enough, and that he wants more affection. He works 3 jobs and between them sometimes we see each other twice a week. I try to be understanding as to why hes upset more days as just stress. I work part time, go to school part time, take care of our child and try to clean up. Our child can be an absolute handful at times. I’m exhausted and honestly I tend to neglect the house first and I admit it. I try to show him affection and meet his needs but some days I just am in the mood for nothing but just trying to catch up and breathe. He doesnt understand no matter how many ways I try to explain it always gets flipped back to me not showing affection or love. He also accuses me any time I’m gone or dont message quick enough of cheating and it drives me crazy because I’m not doing anything and try to prove as much as I can. If i were to accuse the same he freaks out about how I’m the one who is home more and has more opportunity. I love him so much and I believe be loves me, but I dont feel In love with him anymore. I’m not happy like I used to be and am sad more than anything. I’m scared of divorcing because I’m afraid of regretting it later. I’m also afraid of what if he doesn’t find another person in life. I know that sounds weird, but I’m just so lost. I know it was a lot of Info but any advice you have would be appreciated! Thank you!

    • Oh my! Where to start?

      I can see how conflicted you are. A LOT has happened in your marriage … and you’ve only been married 3 years! Because of that, I STRONGLY recommend that you get yourself a counselor/therapist to help you work through all of the conflicting emotions you must be experiencing so you can get yourself grounded and moving in the right direction. It’s not realistic to expect that you can deal with work, school and a small child AND still have the ability to fix a marriage that is definitely floundering without getting some help!

      It’s unfortunate that your husband won’t go to marriage counseling. But, right now, you need to work on YOURSELF! You need to get clear about your value as a human being. (And, yes. You ARE worthwhile and you ARE worthy of love even though your husband may not make you feel that way at the moment!) You also need to deal with any residual depression that you might have, and start moving yourself forward.

      There’s a lot more that you can do after you get yourself stronger and clearer. But, for right now, that’s enough. It will take a lot of work, but it will probably be the best, and most rewarding, work you can do – both for yourself and your child.

      Hope that helps.


      PS I know this is probably not a popular thing for me to say, but love is not enough to make a marriage work! You need respect, common values and shared goals. You need WAY more than just love. I know you love your husband, But what you need to figure out is whether you can (and want to) stay married to him!

  • Hi Karen,
    My wife (50) and I (also 50) have been married for 18 years, together for 20. We have a boy that is 10 and a girl that is 14. I thought and assumed that our marriage was fine but found out that my wife was having an affair 15 months ago. When I confronted her she advised me that she was very unhappy and was only chatting with this man for fun but had never met him. I wanted to divorce her at that time because infidelity was a deal breaker for me but for the sake of the kids we agreed to work on our marriage. Soon after she advised me that she no longer felt attracted to me and we stopped having sex. I subsequently learned that she was still having an affair and although I caught it when it was an EA it soon turned into a PA. After conducting a full blown investigation several months later I learned that her affair partner was 20 years younger and our children’s soccer coach who we have known for 11 years when he was just 20 years of age (he is now 30). She blames the entire affair on me and how I was asleep at the wheel and not a good husband or father. I believe she is completely rewriting our marital history and blame shifting. I think she has lost her mind as we never had any type of problems that would lead one to believe we were on the verge of divorce. When she continued to gaslight and lie to me about what she was doing I filed for divorce this past summer. We did reconcile when she said that she wanted our marriage to work. This turned out to be a false reconciliation and she is still with this guy who is pursuing her relentlessly and promises to take care of her. She is obviously cake eating at this point and when I last confirmed 2 months ago that she was still with him, I retained counsel again. We tried marriage counseling for one session and when the counselor advised her that in order for me to trust her she would need share her phone and all passwords she refused and declined further counseling. I am completely destroyed and feel that I am stuck in a nightmare. At home we get along well but no intimacy and I know she is still engaging in her affair although she denies it. She has now retained counsel and advises that our relationship is toxic because she can’t trust me (because I caught her). I am proceeding with the work necessary for a divorce but part of me is hopeful that she will put a stop to her affair and return to our marriage. I don’t think I really want her back at this point but feel lost thinking about my future without her. It hurts even more knowing that she is with this kid and has betrayed me and our children. Am I nuts for even considering another reconciliation at this point?

    • You’re not nuts. You WANT your marriage to work. Or, at least PART of you wants the marriage to work. The other part doesn’t know if you can ever trust her again and DOESN’T want her back.

      All of that is normal.

      If you don’t have a therapist, I strongly suggest you get one. I’m talking about an individual therapist, not a marriage counselor. You’ve been through a lot in your marriage. It’s time to unpack your feelings and start dealing with your emotions so that yu can have a life again.

      The ONLY productive thing you can do right now is work on yourself. As you do that, and start to become stronger and heal, you will see your life more clearly.

      I know what you’re going through hurts. It hurts A LOT! It’s going to keep hurting for a long time. (Sorry!) It’s normal to cling to hope that things will get better. They will. But “better” may end up being different than what you want right now. At the same time, “better” is, well, better!

      You’re going to be okay.

      Remember, the only way out is through.



  • Hi,
    I really need direction. I have a therapist, psychiatrist, and a marriage counselor so I have plenty of “voices”. But no one is really helping me make the decision.
    7 months ago my husband told me he had just ended a 4 month affair in which he was both emotionally and sexually involved with another woman. Then he admitted to another affair back in 2007, and 12 one-night stands in the middle. I was completely devastated. I had no idea any of this was going on because he’s military and gone so much, I was raising two kids essentially by myself (one with autism), and working and going to grad school. He told me he hasn’t been happy for 20 years (we’ve been married for 25, since we were 18). However, he has committed to going to therapy, he enrolled in a 12 step program, he has accountability partners, etc. I do love this man but he has destroyed my trust, my self-esteem, etc. I know the obvious answer that friends and family give is”get out!” But I think he is sincerely trying to work out his issues and now I know that he felt disdained and belittled I am working on expressing myself differently. What are your thoughts?

    • You’re not facing an easy decision. Unfortunately, it’s not one that I, or anyone else, can make for you. Yet, it is a decision that you can make for yourself.

      Perhaps if you ask yourself a few questions, it will help.

      What do you want for your life?

      What’s important to you?

      Do you and your husband want the same things in life? Do you have the same values?

      If he doesn’t work out his issues, are you willing to stay with him? Are you willing to stay with him if he does?

      If you live another 40 years and you’re on your deathbed, and you’re looking back at your life, what would you want to see? What would matter to you?

      I know this might not be the kind of answer you expected. But, sometimes you can get farther by asking yourself the right questions than you can by looking for answers outside of you.

      The truth is that, if you’re willing to listen, you will find that you already have the answers you need inside of you. But you need to be willing to ask yourself the right questions and then be quiet enough to hear the answers that come up. Be patient. Listen to the voice inside you. You’ll figure this out.



      • Hi Karen,
        I have been married for almost 8 years together 10 years. We don’t have children which is something I thought we both wanted but still hasn’t happened. I tell him I’m ready but he never seems to be on board or wants to try and make it happen. I feel like I try to initiate sex but he just is never in the mood. I don’t think he has a high sex drive and we really don’t have sex anymore these past few years so I don’t know what to do or how many times I can talk to him about it. I feel like everyone around me has children and I’m like the strange one married with no kids. From 2014 on my husbands had has so many health issues, got diagnosed with depression. Has delt with weight issues, gain some weight from the meds which caused a lot of pain and sadness to him. I still loved him the same. Since then he has lost a majority of the weight but constantly battles his weight issues. Through it all over the years I’ve stuck by his side with all his health and mental issues that I ignored that intimacy side and eventually it just kind of became awkward. We are like best friends that kiss and hug and love each other. But there is also that bad side and it might have to do with his depression or whatever I really don’t know but over the years the fighting kind of escalated. This past year I felt like the respect went out the window. I got sick of the no intimacy and walking on eggshells trying to not fight about this issue and I think over all just mentally drained from fighting over the stupidest things, that most of the time I feel like he wants to start a fight over. I feel like I have always tried to listen and do what he wants and now when I voice what I want, he doesn’t listen. I am not getting any younger we try to talk about things but it will escalate because he takes it the wrong way or out of context. Usually at the end of our fights he tells me that I was wrong and needs to say sorry. I do apologize if I say something out of line, but most of our fight he finds a way to make me the sorry one, which is mentally draining. From what I get told he is very controlling of me. I am tired of living in a circle with no future. I think I am ready to leave, I’ve moved out for about a month to separate to see how I feel without him. I feel ok,’ maybe because we were more like roommates and I feel a little less stressed because I don’t have to deal with more fighting or complaining of his health issues. He is very hurt I left to have a breather, but I think it makes me feel as though maybe divorcing him will be better so I can find my future and my sanity. I feel so lost and need some advice.

        • I know you said you feel lost, but it actually sounds like you’re doing quite well. What you need to figure out is whether you truly want to divorce him or not. Since you’ve already left, your head is hopefully a little clearer now.

          If you want to see if you can still save your marriage, I suggest working with a good marriage counselor. It sounds like you have some baggage to work through. Marriage counseling can help a lot.

          Know that most marriage counselors would like to see you stay married, though. So, if you are really done and know you want a divorce, then there is no point in going to marriage counseling.

          If you do decide to get a divorce, then your next step will be to educate yourself about what you are facing as much as possible. The more you know, the better you are likely to do.

          One really good way to learn what you need to know about divorce is through the online Divorce Road Map Program. You can check it out here.

          All in all, it sounds like you’re making progress. I know it may not feel that way. Just keep going.



  • Hi,
    I have been married for 21 years. We have two children (20 and 12). We started out together very young, even though we got along we had a few rough patches. We both come from broken homes and both of our stepfathers cheated on our mothers. This left our mothers both devastated, both sets of parents are now divorced, this is important to mention because both of our mothers went through heartbreak at the same time and its been a very rough 20 years on everyone. Our marriage had love but I’m starting to realize we never had any real respect for one another. Even though we had our issues, (he stayed out late, had temper tantrums when things didn’t go his way) the one thing I could always pride myself on was that he didn’t cheat on me like our fathers did to our mothers. I felt that he and I had that connection of what it does to a family. Anyway that changed he cheated on me 10 years into our relationship and swore that it would never happen again. Things seemed ok until 5 years ago, I find out that he had multiple affairs with 2 different women. I immediately hired an attorney however, in our state we had to stay separated for a year before I could file for a divorce. During that time he quit his job and had a breakdown, we went to both marital and individual counseling and during that time I put our house up for rent. I had to get out of that town before I went insane. We stayed in counseling for about a year and we moved into an apartment . To be honest it has been rough mainly due to the fact we laid everything out on the table and tried honestly to work on our issues. My husband and I just kept ending up in horrible fights, me for not trusting him due to his infidelity and he couldn’t handle my anger (which I completely understand) I was and sometimes still am extremely resentful and angry I say mean things and I honestly want to hurt him the way he has hurt me. We went our separate ways a year ago he’s still trying its a little less now and I’m still bitter. I know its not good for me or my family but I just get so angry for being used and treated as if I didn’t matter to him. I worked my tail off to help provide for our family, I cooked, cleaned, made sure our kids were taken care of . I even supported his dreams by offering to fund whatever he got his hands on. Nothing was good enough he was always out and about with his friends and never delivered on any promises always broke them. The last straw was the cheating. Through all of this I’m still here and I don’t know why. I did speak with my attorney she said the only thing I need to do now is pay the court fees and I’m all set. I just cant bring myself to do it and I have not idea why. I’m stuck and angry with myself and I cant move forward. The counselors that Ive been to cant seem to help me .
    By the ways; Now that hes been through the counseling and living on his own he has made a huge effort to try to get me to trust him and hes in constant communication with me and transparent. A different person from before but I still see that person that I was married to my whole life. Maybe that’s whats causing me to pause?

    • It’s normal to have second thoughts about your decision to divorce. But as for why won’t you pull the trigger and file, I can’t tell you that. I don’t know you well enough. What I can tell you is that YOU have the answers inside of you.

      Normally I’d say it would be helpful to work with a counselor to sort through all this. But you’ve tried that. The truth is that, until you’re ready to look inside yourself, no counselor in the world is going to be able to help you understand what’s keeping you stuck. And, until you’re ready to let go of your anger, you’re not going to be able to move on.

      The truth is that holding on to your anger won’t hurt your husband. It will, however, hurt you. It can keep you stuck for years – maybe decades.

      Of course, letting go is hard. You want an apology. You want your husband to acknowledge what you did and how sorry he is for what happened in the past. Maybe someday you’ll get that. But you probably won’t. (Sorry!) Even if you do, if you’re so angry and bitter, then even if your husband does apologize, it probably won’t feel very satisfying. It won’t make you happy. The only one who can do that is you. The only way you can do that is to work through your anger and let it go.

      Right now you’re mad because your husband broke his promises to you. I’m sure you’re right about that. I’m also sure that hurts like crazy. What you have to decide now is whether you’d rather be right and hang onto that hurt or you’d rather be happy and let it go. It really is your choice.

      Hope this helps.


  • First of all, I love how you are responding to everyone. Your feedback and advice seems very genuine and so I thought I give this a try. I do not know where to begin, I do not know what to even do! All I know is I am tired. I reached my limit. I prayed, fast, I changed myself, changed my ways and gave up so much. I loved way past unconditional and I forgave him daily for my sanity. I feel I deserve better and partnership. I feel I am alone on this one way dead end street. I see how God sees him and the potential he can be. 9 years and nothing has changed. He does not help with anything and when I ask for help I am lazy or its all about me. This man can’t even wash clothes, dishes, take garbage out or anything at that matter. It is taking 5 years to finish 2 classes for my Bachelors and he can not help so I can focus. I paid for him to attend a trade school, he was able to focus, straight AS and even on the president deans list and he never went back to get certified. Waste of time and money. I worked 3 jobs till years later he finally landed a good one. Now everything is mine mine mine get out my house and so on. I got up and moved across the world to be with him. I am alone, with no family, support or help. He doesn’t attend activities, events, sports or anything of my kids or mine. I have 2 boys 10,8 and now a baby girl who is 1. My boys are very active, always wining awards and special gifted kids. I am active in my community and a big activist that is need it. I know when to put my family first and make them priority. He never supports nor think anything is worth of doing if its not him first and always. He is always serious, never talks or gives feedback yet when he wants to talk, do something or want something we all have to jump at his say. I feel like I am walking on eggshell and no longer have peace nor joy. I feel dead walking alive and this is not the just of it. How can I move on with no money and place to go to? Where do I start and why was I dumb enough to be here? Ughh. Suggestion where to start.

    • Where do you start?

      The best place to start would be with a good therapist. You need support. You need to feel like you’re not so alone. A good divorce support group might help too. But, you may not be ready to take that step right now. That’s why a therapist would probably be your best choice.

      I also suggest that you try marriage counseling if you haven’t done so already. Before you can make a decision this big, you have to feel confident that you’re making the right decision. If he won’t go to marriage counseling, that’s fine. But you will probably feel better if you at least try to get him to go there.

      After that, another step you might want to take is to prepare yourself for divorce, if that’s the road you choose to go down. The more prepared you are, the better you are likely to do – and the stronger you are likely to feel. Again, you might not be ready to take that step just yet. But, if you are, I invite you to check out my online Divorce Road Map Program. Because you can do it online, it’s more private (and less scary!) than going to some lawyer’s office. Plus, it’s a fraction of what you would pay to get the same amount of information from any divorce lawyer one-on-one (if they would even give it all to you!)

      You can CHECK IT OUT HERE!

      I hope all this helps! I wish you the best.


      PS Everyone is dumb when they’re in love. Don’t beat yourself up!

      • I have been married 14 years to my wife. My gmail always told me her 3 kids would grow up and leave…
        .. she has 3 kids previous marriage. I picked the pieces. Braces, phones,car, house. Everything and these kids still do not appreciate me. Come to find out her parents, talked crap about me for the first 5 years of our marriage. They would go gma GPS for weekend and come back hating me. My gma told me kids will grow up and you will have wife. 14 years later kids grown up and they have their own 3 kids, 24 years old and now I still find myself picking up the pieces. From all 3. Air condition on kids home, 7400 car other one, 5500 other one and now college a rent. Not my responsibility and they act as though they hate me. My GPA told me cant buy their love. I am miserable and this has lead me to drink more than I want. I just want a woman who will make me number one, love me, not be on phone all night 9 10pm with her kids, babysitting, dr. Appt. Ugh…. I feel as though being used.

        • Okay, so it’s time for a little tough love here. (Sorry. If you don’t want to read it, hit the “back” button on your browser now!)

          You said all this wasn’t your responsibility. Then why do you keep doing it?

          You said you want love. But love can’t be bought. (Remember the old Beatles song: Can’t Buy Me Love?) I know that not may not be what you are trying to do, but that’s what it looks like. (Sorry!)

          Getting the love you want starts with YOU. It starts by loving yourself enough to stop drinking. (Yep. Sorry again!) It starts by figuring out whether you are giving your money unconditionally or whether you want something back. (Just asking!) It starts by deciding that you deserve to have the love you’re looking for without paying for it!

          You’ve got a lot of things to think about, and a lot to work through. My guess is that you’ve been through a lot with these kids over the years. Unfortunately, trying to work through everything yourself will take forever and may not be too productive. A good therapist could really help a lot!

          I wish you the best.


  • Hi Karen,

    My husband and I have been together for 15 years, married for 7. We don’t have any children. I love my husband but am not in love with him. I am not physically attracted to him. I have come close to asking for a divorce and even brought up the subject multiple times. A year ago I had an affair, which is is aware of. We agreed to work on our marriage but I continue to be unhappy. He is an amazing man, a great person, my best friend but I just can’t seem to make myself feel that we are more than a “partnership” rather than a marriage. I’m worried about what everyone (friends/family) will think if I ask for a divorce. I’m worried about how hard it will be on him financially. I’m worried about hurting him more than I already have. I have tried counseling but not found success. I have also tried to ask for a divorce but can’t seem to stick to that choice – largely out of fear and hurt. I don’t know what to do. I fell like I’ve been in 2 years of limbo.


    • You feel like you’ve been in limbo for 2 years because you have been in limbo for 2 years! You’re stuck in a marriage you don’t want to be in, but you’re not sure whether you really want to leave.

      I can tell you don’t want to hurt your husband. It’s understandable that you would be worried about what other people will think if you get divorced. But, whose life are you living? (Just a question!)

      The reason you can’t stick to your decision to divorce is that you didn’t really commit to it. You’re trying to weigh the pros and cons of being married versus getting a divorce. That keeps you spinning in your head because weighing pros and cons never works. (Sorry!)

      The truth is, this is a really difficult decision. It’s very hard to make. That’s why you need a better process for making it.

      In my Decision Day Retreat, I help people understand their fears and their desires so that they can make this kind of decision in a way they have confidence in. The process we use is very different than weighing pros and cons. Because we cover so much ground in the retreat I can’t summarize it in a single website comment. What I can tell you, though, is that unless you find a way to get past your fears and worries, you can stay in limbo a very long time. (Again, sorry!)

      If you’re interested in the Decision Day Retreat you can check it out HERE. (I’d suggest taht you could go to counseling and work on this decision, but you said you already tried that and it didn’t work!)



  • Hello Karen,
    Next month we will have our 50 anniversary. My husband is 73 and I’m 70. We always were arguing but in the last 4 years my husband is especially mean. He can’t talk but screams and I never know when he will start. He can be nice and loving and all of the sudden he does not like something what I said. When we were young he cheated and blamed me for it, he said he was suicidal and blamed me for it too. He says I have no respect for him but he puts me down in front of our kids and friends .He always feels that he is not valued, not respected, that I criticize him all the time and that I love more the dog then him… About 4 years ago he had a prostate cancer and now we have no sex and that makes him angry because he always treated sex as love. He is a hard working men and can do anything but at the same time he thinks that I am not pulling my part because I have not the same stamina or ideas.
    I am tired of feeling lonely, screamed at, he is the” better” father and grandfather ( that’s what he thinks) as he is always in competition with me about everything. We’d tried counselling but he decided that the psychologist was taking my side.
    I am so exhausted but also afraid to be alone that I am contemplating that maybe we should sell the house and buy a duplex that we can live close, help each other but be separated.

    • You may think it’s crazy but the duplex idea might be a good one!

      People think that once they’re married, their only options are to stay married or get a divorce. But that’s not true.

      You can stay married and live separately. (You can do that in a duplex or by having separate apartments/condos in the same building. Or you can do that living in separate places miles apart.) You can even live separately in the same house if you have two different levels. Or, you can live pseudo-separately by just living your own lives while you’re living together.

      None of those options may sound ideal to you. I get it. The point is, you have options.

      Even though couples counseling didn’t work for you, getting your own therapist might be helpful. You need support. You need someone you can talk to, someone who will help you build your confidence and self-esteem.

      Another thing to consider is that your husband may be suffering from a touch of dementia or Alzheimers (sorry!). Some forms of dementia make people very mean. Of course, even if your husband is starting to experience age-related personality changes, that doesn’t help you deal with them. But at least you’ll know what’s going on. So maybe getting a thorough doctor visit might be helpful for your husband. There may be medication that can help him.

      What’s most important for you, though, is to find coping mechanisms that will help you make your situation better. That may mean changing your living arrangements, getting a therapist, or just being home less often. You also might want to work on your own mindset and energy. What can you do that will help you feel better even if nothing changes with him? That’s the question you might want to focus on.



  • I’ve been married for two years and we have been together for five going on six. This is my second marriage and her third. Here’s the problem. My wife is verbally abusive, extremely sensitive, refuses to communicate effectively, blames me for everything and is jealous of my ex-wife with whom I have three kids. For five years she has interjected my ex-wife into conversations. She states often that my ex-wife dictates my actions and that I am her whipping boy. Th truth is my ex and I have a cordial relationship. I rarely talk to her but when I do it’s strictly about my children. My ex lives on the east and I am in Texas. Two of my kids spend the summer with us and there is always tension from my wife. She takes my kids actions very personally. She stated that she lives with two liars my son and myself (he’s 13). She is free to go shopping, return home at whatever time she chooses. The other night I went to the shopping center and she called and accused me of having an affair. I returned home and she told me that based on what she has read I fit the profile of someone who cheats. I will end with this in summation without listing every detail. She has consistently beat me down during these five years. I am tired. She fails to reason, rarely apologizes, every perceived slight is a war refuses counseling and talk with her friends about me. Yes, this has led to a lack of intimacy
    which she blames me for 100 percent failing to realize that it’s a two way street. She gives m the silent treatment quite a bit. I’m just tired of fighting, I think about a life without her, I need peace. I will say, I’m not perfect, I respond out of frustration especially when I feel I’m not being heard. She will take a negative comment from me and hang on to it while not recognizing the things she has said and done. Oh, she has hit me on a few occassions.

    • Okay. It’s time for a little tough love here. (Sorry! If you don’t want to read it, stop now.)

      The behavior you’re describing is abusive. It sounds like your wife is abusive to you and to your kids. So, my question to you is, why are you taking that kind of behavior from her? I know she’s your wife and you’re not perfect. But, even still you are a human being. You deserve to be treated with dignity and respect. Unfortunately, you’re getting neither one from your wife.

      You might want to ask yourself (if you haven’t already!) why you’re staying? Why are you allowing yourself to be treated so badly? I know you may think you can’t help it, but the truth is, we all get what we tolerate.

      If your wife won’t go to marriage counseling, that’s her choice. But if she abuses you, it’s YOUR choice what you do about it. It’s YOUR choice whether you stay in this marriage and whether you allow your wife to talk to you the way that she does, and to treat you the way that she does.

      I’m not saying you need to divorce your wife. That’s not my call to make. But how you live is YOUR decision … and it is a decision. Life isn’t just something that “happens” to you. You have the power to create a happy life if you choose to do so.

      So, I guess it’s up to you.


      PS I know this isn’t easy. But that’s no excuse for letting yourself be treated like a doormat.

  • My husband and I have been married for almost a year. When we were buying our house together it was on my pay check alone as he was unemployed. Before we found out insurance was esgrowed we were trying to figure out how we were going to pay it. And I went through his bank statements to see where his money had gone and it went to several adult websites. And that when I first considered it. We had talked to a counselor after this and attended a marriage workshop. But I still haven’t been able to stop thinking about it. And when I brought up getting a divorce I found out that he had bad depression and I’m tired of sacrificing myself to support him as he is only working as a pizza delivery driver. I just feel like after 5 months of struggling to love him and myself and mommy him i can’t. But I feel like I’m giving up.

    • I’m not sure you’re going to like what I have to say, so I’ll give you fair warning. If you don’t want to read it, hit the back button on your browser now!

      Still here? Okay.

      First of all, 5 months is nothing! (Sorry! I warned you!) A LOT of marriages struggle during the first year or two. The fact that you’ve been having problems isn’t particularly surprising. What is more troubling, though is that it sounds like you didn’t know your husband very well at all before you were married. You didn’t know he had depression, or that he used porn. You DID know that he was unemployed, and you still bought a house with him. It sounds like that has now created financial problems.

      Should you try to work on those problems, and on your marital problems? Unfortunately, I can’t answer those questions for you. It may be that you married the wrong man. (Again, sorry!) Or it may be that you married the right man and you just haven’t given your marriage enough of a chance. I don’t know. But what I do know is that you could probably benefit a lot from working with a marriage counselor. That will help you get to the bottom of what’s going on in your marriage and to figure out whether you can save it or not. A marriage counselor can help you work on your communication and on your relationship.

      Going to a marriage workshop was a great start! Talking to a counselor was great too! But you need more. I strongly suggest that you work with a marriage counselor a little more consistently. That will help you figure out where you go from here.

      Hope this helps! (And, again, sorry to be a little tough on you!)


  • I’ve been married for 20 years. I’ve never really been happy, but I’ve never really been unhappy, if that makes sense. When I meant my husband, I had a daughter. My daughter’s father has always been involved with her and that was a problem for my husband. When I married my husband, I was pregnant with our child. At the time I decided to get married, I am not sure it was for the right reasons, but I didn’t want to be a women with two kids and two separate fathers. As the years went on I didn’t want to be divorced with two kids from two separate fathers and later we had another child. My husband and I hit some rough roads early on and sought counseling. He was all for counseling, except when it started to focus on him and was addressing his issue more than my own, and he felt that the counseling wasn’t working for him. We never went back and that was about 15 years ago. I feel like he’s more involved with his own world and is not really active in ours lives. I know that he can not name one class that our youngest daughter is struggling in, I am certain he couldn’t name what classes that our son is taking in college currently (our son has had straight A’s in college). I’ve worked at a new job for approximately 6 months and he couldn’t even tell you the name of my employer. I could deal with that, I’ve dealt with that for many years now. I supported him while he want back to school to get his degree. He is a good provider and I liked having two parents to raise our children. My problem comes with his anger, he’s never been physically abusive to me or our children, he has been verbally and emotionally abusive, especially to my daughter (his step-daughter), who is now an adult and has a daughter or her own, which my husband is not involved with her at all. Recently, he completely embarrassed me in front of my sister and her husband with his anger. I’ve tried not to hold his past actions against him, and there are many things he’s done, but It keeps adding up and I keep asking myself what I am doing. Do I think he loves us, I am not sure I can answer that anymore. Am I financially ready, no. Am I mentally ready, not sure. His anger and shear lack of involvement in our lives combined with the blatant disrespect for me as a wife, women and mother of his children is getting to be too much. I am not sure if I am just angry about his temper in front of my sister and her husband and it makes me remember everything else in the past I’ve tried to let go. I’ve spent our whole marriage guarding my children from his anger, fighting with him over our children and discipline. We have recently relocated and tried to get a new start and that has not worked. What I thought would be a new adventure is slowly falling apart. I am angry, hurt and feeling trapped. We had many conversations about his behavior and he keeps telling me that he loves all of us, but his actions are completely opposite. Not really sure what I should do.

    • Oh my! I can hear how angry and frustrated you are. I’m not surprised. It sounds like your husband’s anger has been slowly grating on you for years, and now it’s just too much. I can understand that.

      While I can’t tell you what to do, something you might want to consider is getting into therapy. I’m sure that you’ve got a lot of things that you’ve tried to let go of that are just bottled up inside of you. The longer you keep them in, the more they bubble around inside, and the more likely it is that one day you will just explode! That’s when you’re likely to say or do something without thinking. That’s NOT the position you want to be in!

      So, get a good therapist and start dealing with your own emotions.

      As for whether you’re ready for divorce or not, you will feel much better and stronger if you put yourself in a position where you CAN leave if you want. That doesn’t mean that you WILL leave. But if you are financially able to divorce your husband, then staying with him becomes your CHOICE. So figure out what you need to do to become financially self-sufficient. Then start taking steps to move toward doing that.

      Finally, educate yourself! Learn as much as you can about divorce. If you don’t want to talk to an attorney, then find other ways to learn what you will be facing if you get a divorce. (The Divorce Road Map Program is an online program that can help you do exactly that. You can check it out HERE.)

      Remember, learning about how to get through a divorce doesn’t mean that you WILL get divorced. Right now you’re just gathering information. The more you know, the better off you’ll be.

      I hope this helps.



  • I have been married for 21 years. My kids are 17 and 14. My husband has always suffered from anxiety and depression. Oddly, I didn’t realize it until about 10 years into the marriage when I almost strayed. He completely withdrew emotionally because of what he was going through and wouldn’t share anything with me. To be honest, I believe I did have an affair, but it was an emotional affair only – not physical. I was so lonely and looking for someone to talk to and reconnected with an old friend via social media. It was so nice to actually have someone to talk to for a change. My husband finally found out and I agreed to end my relationship with this person, which was so hard because I had finally found someone to talk to. Things got a bit better for a few years, but eventually, I became lonely again because he withdrew again and was going through so much on his own, I didn’t feel like I should burden him with my loneliness and disconnected-ness. We have basically been living as roommates for the past four years or so. We have maybe had sex three times within the past five years. I don’t even know if I want to have sex with him anymore. Lord knows he hasn’t wanted to. He is now in therapy and starting to deal with his stuff, but he still does not talk to me about anything emotional or his feelings. Just his therapist. I am glad he is finally starting to feel better, but I continue to feel isolated and left out because he won’t talk to me about anything important. I know I’m starting to feel resentment because I catch myself pointing out all the things he does wrong. That is not who I am, but I hear myself saying things and can’t seem to stop myself. I have never been one to feel sorry for myself, but lately I don’t know how much longer I can take the isolation. I have tried to gingerly let him know that I feel he doesn’t share with me and that makes me feel like I am not a priority in his life. He just apologizes and has nothing else to say and things don’t change. Divorce has never been an option for me, but I can feel my soul being crushed with each new day. I have supported him and continue to support him through his journey. I know anxiety and depression don’t just magically go away. But selfishly I wonder when it will be my turn to be supported and loved. Sometimes the only reason I go home from work is to see my kids. Because at least I can have good conversations with them. The time my husband and I spend together is to prepare food and watch tv. We talk about mundane things, but even if I start a conversation about how I’m feeling to try to get him talking, he just apologizes for being a bad husband and tells me I deserve better, that’s it. I’m not trying to tell him he’s a bad husband, I’m trying to relay that I feel like I’m drowning and empty and there is no one filling my cup. At least when I had the emotional affair, my cup was being filled. I don’t feel needed, wanted or loved, even though I know he loves me – it’s just not shown to me in any way. I feel so selfish for wanting those things when I know he is going through so much (I guess, don’t really know cuz he won’t tell me), but it doesn’t change my feelings. I don’t know how much longer I can live with a husband who is so detached from me in every way – emotionally and physically. I have never had a problem with my self-worth so this has been a challenging time. I honestly don’t know how much longer I can live like this.

    • Oh my! I can hear how much you just want to be heard! I can completely understand that. But it also doesn’t sound like your husband is ready to listen yet. (Sorry!)

      I don’t know if you’re in therapy, but if you’re not, that would definitely be something to look into. You need to talk about your feelings. You need to process what’s going on with you, and with your marriage. Having someone you trust who you can talk to can help a lot.

      You said you feel selfish for wanting to feel loved and needed and wanted. Why? Why is that selfish? It’s awesome that you understand that your husband’s anxiety and depression won’t go away instantly. But, at the same time, it also sounds like you’re not getting any of your needs met on any level — and you haven’t been getting your needs met for years! I’m not surprised that you feel like you’re drowning and empty.
      So, how CAN you get your needs met in a way that doesn’t require you to have an affair? Is there a way to do that? If you wanted to give your husband time to work on his anxiety and depression (which it sounds like he’s doing now) what could you do to ALSO get your needs met? What would light you up? What makes you happy?

      In the end, married or not, we’re all responsible for our own happiness. Sure, being happy when you’re with someone who makes you feel good is much easier. But if you want to give your husband time to change, then you need to figure out how you can stop ignoring yourself (because you are ignoring yourself too!)long enough to do that. On the other hand, if you just don’t have it in yourself to wait anymore then you may need to accept that.

      No matter what you do or decide, however (because ultimately these are all your decisions) having a good therapist to talk to in the process will help a lot.

      Hope that helps.


  • Hi Karen,
    I’ve been married for 14 years. Recently I’ve noticed my husband constantly telling me I’m too controlling and mentioned I was fat. His change in behavior and connection with me made me suspicious so I looked at his phone records and found a number he text a lot at odd times. So I confronted him about it and said it was a lady he started talking to and I asked if he was going to end it and he said maybe. This upset me and called this lady’s number and told her to stay away from my family. It was a huge argument. First he said they were only messaging each other and soon after he admitted to kissing her. Having five kids and not believing he is a cheating type I called this lady and she said they did kiss and I asked if they went any further she didn’t answer. She also didn’t answer me when I asked if he still contacted her. She claims she slapped him when he kissed her. He does keep reaffirming me that he is not with her but I recently found out that he actually works with her. He refuses to admit he works with her and refuses to quit his job and changed his number and refuses to get back on my phone plan to regain my trust. I’ve asked him four times if he would like to work things out but he tells me he don’t want to be with me anymore but hasn’t filed for divorce. And each time I bring it up he tells me he’s with no one and blames me for his living/financial situation. He lives in a motel right now and refuses to come home. I feel like if someone wants to be with another person they would want to file. Please help

    • I’m sorry to disagree, but just because someone is having an affair that doesn’t necessarily mean they want a divorce. I know that might not make sense to you, but I’ve seen it happen more times than I can count. (Sorry!)

      I STRONGLY suggest you go to counseling. You could use some support for yourself, so individual therapy would be great. If he’ll go to couples counseling with you too, that may help as well. But I have to be honest: the fact that he is lying to you and isn’t interested in doing anything to rebuild your trust is not a good sign. (Again, sorry!)

      Finally, if you want to learn more, check out The State of Affairs, by Esther Perel. It’s an eye-opener!



  • I need some advice. I recently separated from my husband and I am just torn on what to do. We have been married for 3 years and together for 7 and have an almost 2 year old daughter. The first 4 years of our relationship things were great but almost as soon as I got pregnant he started nitpicking everything I do and nothing I do is ever good enough or right. He slowly started isolating me from my friends and family saying that I’m pregnant and don’t need to be traveling to see them or the baby doesn’t need to be in the car for long periods of time. When our daughter was about 6 months old he lost his job due a failed drug test and turned into a monster. He drank all the time and was just so angry and violent about everything. But I stayed hoping that when he got a new job and back on his feet things would be okay again. But once he got a job things only got worse. He didn’t want me talking to any of the men I worked with and would constantly be checking my phone and getting upset over my conversations. He told me to cut all contact with them if there was any chance to make it work. So I did but the constant jealousy and control continued to the point the first thing he did when walked through the door was check my phone. And constantly through out the day he would check my location just to make sure I was where I said I was. We had conversation after conversation about things not working the way they were going and make a plan to fix them but neither one of us would follow through with what we said we were going to do. And meanwhile the degrading comments and constant belittling got worse to the point I felt I was walking on eggshells no matter what I did. I couldn’t feed our daughter properly or change her diaper, the way I talked to her was wrong and everything I did had to be done his way or it wasn’t good enough. About 6 months ago I became a stay at home mom and ever since then I have completely lost myself to the point I am just a shell of a person who has no value or importance. I felt suffocated and like I was constantly drowning unable to get my head above water. So I finally got the courage to leave and separate from my husband and ever since I have left he is constantly telling me all the things I’ve ever wanted to hear and how different things could be if I could just give him the chance to prove it. And I am just so torn. I am scared of a life without him. I am scared of doing this alone and making a huge mistake that I can’t take back. Is there any chance that my marriage salvageable or is all of this just wishful thinking of the way things could have been in a perfect fairytale world?

    • Is there any chance your marriage is salvageable? I wish I could answer that, but it’s not my call to make. Only you can answer that question. But, in order to answer it, you’re going to have to give this time. Making ANY decision right now may be premature.

      First of all, if you are not in therapy, I STRONGLY suggest that you start now! You need support. To go through everything you’ve described on your own is just too much for one person. So, Step #1: Get yourself a therapist.

      Next, what you may not realize is that the behavior you’re describing is abusive. It goes beyond the ordinary disagreements married people have. I’m not a therapist, and I don’t mean to suggest that your husband suffers from any particular condition. But you may want to check out this article on divorcing a narcissist.

      Finally, the best way to find out whether your marriage is salvageable is to go to marriage counseling. (That’s in addition to individual therapy!) A lot has happened in your marriage. Working with a good marriage counselor will help you sort through all the issues the two of you are dealing with so that you can make your marriage better. If your husband won’t go to marriage counseling, that tells you something about the level of his commitment to your marriage.

      No matter what you do, give this time … a LOT of time. If things are going to work out, you’ll know it in time. But if your husband is promising you the moon, but hasn’t really changed, it will be hard for him to keep up the show for a long period of time.

      I wish you the best. I hope this helps.


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