When He Wants A Divorce And You Don't - Relationship Reality
Divorce, no matter how amicable and for the best of everyone all around, is still traumatic. When two people decide together that they no longer want to be married to each other, divorce is sensible, realistic, and a life changing event. Even though it is something they are choosing, both people will feel the pain of leaving the marriage.
How much worse is it then when your spouse is the one who wants and initiates a divorce! Your whole world is shattered. Recently I received an email from a woman who is going through a separation and divorced that she hadn't anticipated or wanted. Part of her email is below:
I am baffled and don't know what to do. My husband of thirteen years has asked me for a divorce and he has moved out. He says he has not been happy for a long time, does not love me anymore, and this what he wants. I don't want to get divorced. I love him and have told him no way will I agree to a divorce. He claims he can get one whether I agree or not. Is this true? We have two children 6 and 10. We've had what I call a few minor problems in our marriage. I truly did not see this coming...Leslie*
Leslie, take a deep breath, sit down and let's take it one step at a time. First the question of whether he can get a divorce without your consent. Unfortunately, the relationship reality to that question is yes. The legal institution of marriage was not meant to trap two people in a union if one wants to leave. While divorce may be messy and expensive, one partner can, and usually does, initiate divorce proceedings alone. Now that you know the truth about divorce you can begin to piece together the reasons for what he wants to do.
Time for some reality checks.
You say he has been unhappy for a long time. This is something you probably noticed but may have been afraid to confront. Be honest with yourself; it is nearly impossible to live with someone for thirteen years and not be attuned to their emotions. Fear of facing an unpleasant situation makes many people hesitate to address it.
Try to pinpoint why he is unhappy. Is it work, has he lost his job or is he fearful of losing it? Are you in debt? Is there in-law trouble? You mention that in your marriage you had what you call "a few minor problems". How did the two of you deal with these problems in your marriage. Please understand that what seem to be minor problems to you may be major issues for him. Unhappiness can stem from a string of unpleasant things happening in his life or simply one major problem. Knowing exactly what is causing his unhappiness will help you know why he wants a divorce.
Communicate with him in a non-confrontational tone. Getting emotional, even though this is a terribly upsetting time for you, will get you nowhere. Ask if he is willing to go for marriage counseling. If he refuses, go yourself. Talking to someone will help you immensely during this frightening period in your life.
A divorce, after having sharing a life for over a decade, is a life change that needs preparation on your part. Child support, alimony, division of property accumulated over the thirteen years, and where you are going to live are issues that need to be put on the table.
It is a sad fact Leslie, but love doesn't always save marriages nor the fact that you have children together. You may not see it now but you really don't want to be with someone who isn't in love with you. That is unhealthy and can only lead to pain and unhappiness on your part. You won't be living a full life because you will always fear that the slightest mistake you make will cause him to leave.
There is certainly life after a divorce; the most difficult part is getting through the divorce itself. Be assured that you will make it through and go on to live a healthier, happier life.
To read more from Kristen Houghton, peruse her articles at Kristen Houghton.com Take a look inside her book, "And Then I'll Be Happy!"
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Copyright 2010 Kristen Houghton
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