I Don’t Want a Divorce…Why is This Happening

Question: My husband has recently left me and our 3 young children after 20 years together. He says we are incompatible, doesn’t want to work on the marriage, and wants a divorce. I feel he is going through some depression and mid life crisis. Although he doesn’t want to be with another woman, he just wants to be alone, to do what he wants and find some peace. I have not told him I still love him and treasure our 20 years because he has been so angry and very determined to get a divorce and I am unsure what to do. I have just been going along with his wishes to divorce because I don’t want to drive him away by clinging on to him. I see he is feeling extremely guilty for what he is doing to our family. Do you feel there is any chance of a reconciliation? Thank you. Annie

Answer: Dear Annie: One of the toughest relationship issues to deal with is what you’re facing…one person happily married and the other miserable. Whichever way it goes, somebody isn’t going to get what’s wanted. Your husband feels he will be happy alone and you feel you will be happy if he stays.

Most situations like the one you describe don’t just happen overnight. Usually, a person’s discontent comes on over a long period of time and is ignored, covered up or denied. In your case there might have been a time when your husband could have discussed it with you so you could address it together. For some reason he chose not to. It now sounds like he’s way past the point of no return. It’s surprising to me that you didn’t know how unhappy he was but couples sometimes try to pretend all is well to their mutual disadvantage.

Certainly you get so say how you feel. Even if he doesn’t care, you get to be heard. Have you thought about the fact that if you don’t speak up he may think you don’t care? Do you know what he’s so angry about? You have a right to know. Whether you cling or not doesn’t seem to be the issue, since he’s leaving anyhow.

I have no way of knowing for sure, but in most situations like yours, there is someone else…carefully hidden away for now, who will “appear” after your divorce is final and be “new”. If that sounds jaded, it is. I think it’s a tacky way to handle infidelity. To be honest, it usually takes that kind of motivation to get a person who’s been married decades to move on.

You need an advocate…a counselor who will help you traverse this minefield. And you need legal advice. Get both and stand up for yourself and your kids. You are operating totally in the dark.

And yes, there’s always a chance for reconciliation. People who get divorced sometimes remarry. Would you want to start over with someone who has insisted on ending things this way? Luckily you’ve got lots of time before you have to think that one through. Right now focus on taking care of yourself and your kids to the best of your ability. Blessings, Luise

10 Responses to I Don’t Want a Divorce…Why is This Happening

  1. H. June 20, 2008 at 9:15 am #

    I know exactly what you are going through. My husband of 20 years walked out on me and our three kids. He stated that he can’t stand me, can’t stand to be around me and doesn’t love me. He also said that there isn’t anyone else and never has been, that he is just not happy. We, as a family, had our ups and downs, he never tried to tell me that he was unhappy, he would just drink. I didn’t see this coming. We disagreed and agreed, so I am at a loss if he will ever try to fix our marriage. I asked for counseling he stated that no one can change his mind, he tells the kids that he didn’t leave them he just left me. H.

  2. Luise June 20, 2008 at 9:21 am #

    Dear H. Talk about being blindsided! No marriage is perfect and we all just do the best we can with the imperfections…both in others and in ourselves. Blessings, Luise

  3. H. June 20, 2008 at 9:57 am #

    Come to find out he is living with my best friend and her husband, instead of being in his own home. Not only has a marriage been broken but the friendship has been broken. He states that he doesn’t care, that he cant stand me and cant stand to be around me. He has never been so mean in the 20 years, why now? I asked him if it were a mid life crisis, he laughed at me and told me that was another one of my excuses. What happened? What did I do that was so wrong? H.

  4. Luise June 20, 2008 at 10:24 am #

    Dear H. Well, there’s no news like bad news! I’d like to suggest that you let go of trying to figure out what you did wrong as soon as you possibly can. The answer is “nothing.” I mean it. How can “being you” be wrong? He picked you 20 years ago for “being you.” He is responsible for his actions, you aren’t. He is responsible for his attitudes…he is responsible for his letting whatever this is pile up until it became an inner avalanche…he is responsible for his drinking and he is responsible for not being able to stand on his own two feet. All of it. At this stage there’s probably no use trying to figure it out. Figure out how to survive it, instead, and move on. Your life isn’t over and who knows what lies ahead? Perhaps adventures await! I’ve “been there” and that’s what happened to me. Blessings, Luise

  5. H. June 20, 2008 at 12:22 pm #

    Easier said than done. He left me two weeks ago today. I am hopeful that one day he will come back. I am moving ahead and looking into my own home with my kids and starting a life on my own. But, my heart tells me to hang in there and maybe he will see the light.

  6. S. January 28, 2009 at 7:42 am #

    Hi,
    I am going through the same thing and as all this was back in June for you
    I’m just wondering what the outcome was? S.

  7. Luise January 28, 2009 at 11:08 am #

    How are you doing, H.? Blessings, Luise

  8. B. July 19, 2010 at 9:09 am #

    My military husband of 8 years suddenly decided that he no longer wanted to be married to me or have our family. He has given me so many different reason why. It has been a year since he told me and I can’t seem to not still be hurt…any tips besides “get a hobby”? B.

    • Luise July 19, 2010 at 11:21 am #

      I think that is something that may always stay with you and you will have to work around it. The way it happened was such a shock and so unilateral. The reasons don’t matter. It’s horrific. I would find a really good counselor and go to work on my self-esteem…which has probably taken a terrible blow. Blessings, Luise

  9. J. December 3, 2010 at 12:04 pm #

    Ladies, you are not alone.
    My husband and I separated after a long time of fighting. During this time, after saying he wanted to do any/everything to save our marriage, he served me with divorce papers. I have tried so hard but he insists on the divorce & says there’s no one else. He still rings me asking for sex but I can’t sleep with him while we’re in divorce court the week before and while he’s handing me a divorce. It hurts so badly. I NEVER imagined life w/o him and my heart is completely broken. He says he’s not happy and I tend to believe him but why divorce? UGH. J.

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