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