To the spouse who is leaving

Categories: Family and Marriage.

To the spouse who is thinking of leaving…
I’m going to be saying some things here that I want you to know and consider. These are words of wisdom and counsel that I believe you need in what is one of the most critical periods of your life. Before you make any lasting decisions about your commitment to your spouse and your children, you need to be aware of the consequences of your decisions.
You are likely angry or frustrated about many things right now. The fact is most people are not solving any problems or getting any peace by leaving the marriage. In fact, you are probably creating many more problems. If you have children, this is especially true.
Maybe you will find happiness with another person. Regardless of which person you are with, your spouse or someone new, the same work on your SELF is necessary. If you remain the same, you will have the same type of relationship again. Whatever problems you didn’t resolve and work out with your spouse will need to be worked out with someone else I guarantee it. The only way this isn’t true is if you can find someone to overpower and bully around the rest of your life. That isn’t a marriage and it’s not Love. You may feel less vulnerable and more in control in such a relationship but that isn’t a loving relationship and will therefore be less rewarding and less meaningful.
Marriages definitely have their ups and downs. These ups and downs are tied to several outside influences. Finances, health, family stress, job stress. Divorce will not magically solve these problems! Furthermore, when the passion and intimacy in a marriage is suffering, it’s easy to fantasize that someone else out there will better meet your needs. Unfortunately, that’s all it is – a fantasy. As soon as real, everyday life sets in with a new relationship the same old problems will be there too. “Marriage is agreeing to a set of problems” is a quote I use often. There is no problem-free marriage out there folks! ALL problems are solvable if both people are truly committed to the marriage. Boredom, abuse, affairs, addictions, betrayals, can all be resolved if both people are willing to change and let go of resentments.

What I’m getting at is that divorce will not make you happy. Research shows that people who leave their marriage to fall in love with someone else end up less happy than those who decide to fall back in love with the person with whom they have created a family and a history. Most problems that drive couples apart can be boiled down to problems in managing conflict, problems with fear, and poor stress management. Like Arnie told Jack in the movie “Family Man”: “Don’t screw up the best thing in your life just because you’re a little unsure about who you are.”

Before you quit the marriage, try really making it work. Pour some energy into it. All marriages take compromise, a give and take. Learn the skills necessary to live in long term compatibility. There are plenty of classes, books, DVDs, and workshops available for marriage education.

In the larger scheme of things, your marriage isn’t just about you and what you think you need (We often get our needs and our wants confused). Marriage is more important than the individual. It’s more important than your spouse. It’s the basic building block of our society, and when divorce occurs a block in the foundation of our society crumbles. Dr. Bill Doherty, leader of the Families and Democracy Project, has this to say about marriage and society:
“The effects of the decline of marriage on society are striking. The failure of
parents to marry and stay married leads to more crime, poverty, mental health
problems, welfare dependency, failed schools, blighted neighborhoods, bloated prisons,
and higher rates of single parenting and divorce in the next generation. Nearly every
major social problem has deep roots in the failure of adults to form and sustain healthy
marriages. There are other causes of these social problems, of course, such as economic
dislocations and the decline of civic life and social responsibility in the United States,
but the disconnection of childrearing from marriage ranks high on the list of what
ails our society and our communities.”

So please, be aware of the consequences of your decisions. Think hard and long before you walk out of the marriage to which you once committed yourself.

For more helpful information on marriage, please visit http://www.smartmarriages.com.

Comments

  1. Kim Borowski

    Hi Patrick. I’m XXX’s sister. I hope XXX reads this and gets a lot out of it. I’m very confused right now as all of us are. My poor sister. I love her so much it hurts. Thanks for posting this and for helping in any way you can. It is appreciated and much needed.

    Sincerely,
    Kim

  2. Patrick Ward

    Kim, Your welcome for the post. I believe that several people could benefit from this information – including those close to our hearts.

  3. Ann

    Patrick,
    Your article shows great insight and the results of action without deep thinking and consideration of family are so very true. I believe courses stressing these ideas should be given to young people in high school. Principles can be applied to life actions besides marriages. Well written and easily understood. thank you

  4. helen

    I wish this could happen for me. My hubby, through many faults of mine no longer feels the love he once had for me. He is leaving soon. We have three little children. He will not attend counselling or read any literature with me. How on earth do I make him see sense?

  5. Anna Pastronyk

    Wow. You have on your website that you don’t take sides, you take the side of the marriage. That IS taking a side. Divorce CAN make you happy, when you are getting away from abusive or manipulative situations. I’ve lived it and I can say I am happier and do not regret my decision on any level. I hope you aren’t advising people to blame themselves and tough it out through bad situations. I’ve never read such a one-sided view from someone who is NOT supposed to take sides.

  6. Patrick Ward

    Anna, thanks for your comments. I don’t know where you read on my website that I don’t take sides. If you come across a therapist that claims he doesn’t take sides, then that therapist can only reflect, not direct. Even then, a therapist will choose what to reflect, and this is a subtle form of direction.

    I encourage you to read this post by William Doherty: http://www.smartmarriages.com/hazardous.html

    I also encourage you to read my article on commitment, as it addresses some of your concerns about what I might be telling my clients.
    http://www.patrickwardphd.com/2009/06/01/commitment/

  7. Beth

    I cried when I read this article, as I often do these days. I have made mistakes in my marriage that has resulted in my husband leaving me. We have two young children. I blame myself, as he wanted to try and begged me, but I was too stubborn. The day he walked out the door, I knew I was wrong for not trying, and have begged for him to try for the last 7 months, as he keeps finding reasons to delay our divorce. He says when he begged me, I told him to “get over it,” and it was only after he left that I wanted him back. He claims he is not sure what he wants, but still refuses to seek counseling with me. I know he still loves me. I have forwarded this article to him, as I do any information I find that may make hime realize our children deserve a family. Thank you.

  8. Dan

    I am a husband who is thinking about leaving my wife. We’ve been married for eleven years, and it has been a good marriage. Recently I reconnected with an old girlfriend, one with whom I never had closure 24 years ago. We were perfect for each other, but at the time, she was 400 miles away at college. Then we lost touch. For years I held a torch for her, wondering where she went and what she was doing, but never expecting to see her ever again.

    Reconnecting was like stoking the embers of a flame that had never died. She’s divorced with a son. When we first spoke on the phone, it was as if those 24 years had never happened. We knew that the feelings we have now were wrong, that I was married and nothing should ever happened, so we tried three times to cut off all communications. It didn’t work. We’ve been on the phone and texting every day since.

    I feel that she was the one that had gotten away, the one that was my twin flame, my soul mate, that we have always belonged together. She feels the same. I don’t know what to do because I have always been faithful to my wife, and we have always had a good marriage until now.

  9. Laura

    Hello Patrick. My marriage has been in trouble for two and half months that I knew of now he is not willing to try. Our marriage had been great in the past. Things like time together seemed to get lost in teh day to day goings on of life. Neither of us are or ever have been involved with anyone else. I plan to show him this article. I desperately want to work it out for us and our children. He refuses counseling. I pray daily for Gods will to be done in our lives. I hope this article speaks to him.

  10. shay

    Hi Patrick, I don’t want another man. I just want a piece of mine and happiness if that means I will be by myself for the rest of my life. I go to work, home and church that’s it. He is always gone I am tired of talking about him never being at home or nothing. I have to do everything myself an on my own. The only thing he wants to do is sit around and tell me what I need to do. The only thing he does is Eat, Sleep and Go. That is his whole agenda from Sunday to Sunday. I can do bad by myself. We are the only ones at home. We both work and get off at the same time. No finicial help nothing. That’s why I am going to leave him and not look back.

  11. Patrick Ward

    Based on what you have written, it sounds like your husband has already left you emotionally, and therefore you have been functioning as a single person for quite some time. If your husband is not aware of your feelings, I suggest that you make him aware, and then give him some time to see if he cares about the marriage.

  12. shay

    I have talked to him and told him how I feel, and he got mad at first but I think he has relized that I am not playing. He has stopped going all the time and has started doing some things that he hasn’t being doing in a long time. I don’t no how long this is going to go on but I am willing to try to make my marriage work. Thank you for your advice Patrick. I will keep you posted on what is going to go on.

  13. Ed

    Thanks for the opportunity to share my heart aches with others.
    My son has MS and has lost his ability to perform in the bedroom. She has abruptly left him and is blaming him for everything and has changed her attitude and continues to tell him how happy she is… knowing that it hurts him. Any advice to offer my son? he is devastated by her actions.
    Thank you Ed

  14. diane

    My husband left 2 months ago after almost 21 yrs of marriage, I recently found out a few days ago, that there is someone else and this began a few months prior to his leaving, he apologized to me but admits that he checked out of the marriage a long time ago, during the time we spoke he brought up the subject of sex and his needs not being met,hates clutter and needs some kind order in the house a daily rountine or something, the subject of his needs for sex has been discussed many times in our relationship.He admitted that he had not really loved me for a long time, but stayed because of obligations to his daughter. this is the third time he has left, The first time was a few months and the second time was over a year, he filed for divorce but then dropped it and came back home. some 15 yrs later this yr; he left in june and has filed for divorce, he has had issues with his dad’s past abusiveness, depression and sexual addictions. I need help in letting go, I should be the one who wants a divorce, how can I love and want someone like this in my life?

  15. Patrick Ward

    When people are guilty, they will often work very hard to convince someone else that the problem is their fault as a way to soothe their guilty conscience. Sounds like your son’s estranged wife is doing that. I recommend that your son go to counseling to get some support in coping with his MS, and all the collateral damage that is occurring in his life because of it.

  16. Patrick Ward

    Why someone would stay in a situation like yours is complex and not due to just one reason. However, a common reason is that the spouse who continually gets hurts yet stays has taken responsibility for their husband’s (or wife’s) unhappiness. You get the message “I’m not happy and its all your fault.” Once you can realize that you have no responsibility for making sure he is happy, you are free to set better boundaries. Boundaries that guard the good within you. For more on this topic, I recommend the book “Boundaries in Marriage” by Henry Cloud.

  17. Hi,
    I’ve been married for 10yrs, I got married at 23.
    My spouse and I were bestfriend’s, I wasn’t looking
    For a boyfriend. He grew on me and I fell for him.
    But I overlooked so much in the physical department
    and didn’t know what I would want later. He is a great guy
    and my family loves him and think he’s perfect for me. I
    use to and I often think if I told people I was leaving
    Him everyone would be shocked! I’m not perfect by any
    means, our relationship seems to be me needing to work on
    me and has felt one side since I can remember.

    I fun cheated on him and kissed someone else 3 yrs ago
    and he forgave me. We never dealt with why, regardless it was wrong
    And I still feel like our relationship is missing something..
    I’m not sure why but I have no motivation to make it work besides our
    child…that’s it…I think not sure.

  18. alan

    Hi Dr Ward…I have a visit with you coming up this next week probably alone it was supposed to be for my wife and i.. she has backed out for I had procrastinated as most men do going to Doctors ..I did make the appt but maybe too late.I will be there If only to help my self..I know she loves me very much and I love her very much.I’m a good man honest hard working all I wanted is for us to grow old together..I have never give up on her.. even though she has had some rough times. I know I can be the man she dreams of .. .. Thank you see you soon

  19. Dave

    HI, I am married 29 years. I checked out of the marriage some 15 years ago. We haven’t argued in 20 years, just put up with each other. I long for living alone…..sometimes I wish I could just die, just to be alone. My wife is an excellent person, our extreme differences make doing things together, tuff for me. I really don’t enjoy doing things with her, but make myself to make her happy. My happiest times at home is when she’s not there. She adores me, and often says she couldn’t live without me. The past five years my desire to just start over is becoming overwhelming. I have no desire to be married ever again. I try to think back on why I married her in the first place, but I don’t really have an answer. She wasn’t the best lover I ever had, she was not my soul mate, it was comfortable, and I was at that age that is seemed like the right thing to do. We have never had children. Do I have right to destroy another persons happiness for my own selfish desires? She would have to leave the home she loves so much, she may have to go to work again! She would be destroyed. I don’t feel I could live with the guilt, so how do I coupe? How do I make it another 20 years until I die? I have tried to put more into the marriage…..the truth is I really don’t care. If she left me tomorrow I wouldn’t even feel bad. When I am alone it feels great, I am much happier, and feel like for while a weight has been lifted off my back. The last few years I find myself drinking as soon as I get home from work just to get by. When I am by myself I stay up later at night and have more energy, and don’t feel the need to drink at all. I am so stuck. I have never expressed to anyone the secrete of my true feelings on my marriage.

  20. Gabriela

    You seem like a moral person, so you might want to rethink this post in terms of the high rates of addiction and spousal abuse causing problems in marriages. This is just what a victim of someone else’s addiction or anger needs to read to stay in a dangerous situation out of fear of what others will think of them and their “immoral” decision. You could be unwittingly convincing victimized individuals to remain in marriages that will result in only more pain or death.

  21. Patrick Ward

    Gabriela,
    You make a good point regarding the necessity to leave in some relationships. See my other post on commitment. . Nevertheless, everyone should be fully aware of the possible consequences of their choices in marriage and divorce.

  22. Tree

    Hi, I’ve been married for 23 years. Our children are gone. There’s been infidelity in the marriage on both parts, and my husband is a narcissist. I love him dearly, but he does not listen to reason. He thinks everything is my fault. Recently, he verbally attacked me for almost 2 hours while we were driving out of town. It got so bad that I started crying yet he didn’t care, but kept yelling, cursing and screaming. It was a nightmare Everything was about him. I felt threatened. There was no compassion. I noticed his other side, after the youngest left for college because he never does anything around the house but work. He got angry when I asked him to take out the trash. He took it out a week later, and fuss the entire time. He gets angry if I ask him to do anything around the house. We’ve been empty nester for only 3 weeks, and he’s become dormant. I feel like it will only get worse. What should we do.

  23. Patrick Ward

    Tree,I highly suggest that you ask your husband to attend marital therapy with you. Another suggestion is to read “Boundaries in Marriage” by Henry Cloud. That book has many helpful suggestions for “guarding the good” against harmful behavior.

  24. Leigh

    Hi Patrick,

    I have been with my boyfriend for 5 1/2 years now and I have no idea what to do. Do I stay do I leave, I feel myself asking this question every day. Everyone keeps telling me I need to leave him once and for all, however I would love your professional opinion. For as long as I can remember every time he goes out with his friends he stays out till about 5/6/7 am in the morning, or until I wake up and call him to come home. I know he just with his friends however I find it disrespectful, selfish and unfair.HE usually does this once a week on the weekend. He is 34 years old and I am 25, yet I don’t ever act like that. I should also mention we have no children. It has always been an issue and every time I bring it up he either:
    1) Pretends to not understand why I’m upset
    2) Throws a hissy fit and says I’m the one being controlling and selfish
    or 3) Brings up things I do that are wrong in the relationship
    The thing is I don’t care that he goes out, its time he chooses to come home at, which I have explained so many times. It has gotten to the point where when he does go out I can’t sleep and I physically feel sick. I have tried numerous times explaining to him how I feel and he just ignores the situation. I recently left the house we live in together and went to stay at my moms. He still after 4 Days of me being gone can not commit to coming home at a reasonable time. I have told him this is a deal breaker and I cannot continue to live like this. He ignores the direct question every time I explain this is the only way I will come home. Am I wasting my time fighting with a man who doesn’t want to grow up and take my feelings into consideration? Am I being selfish? Is this normal? Everyone just keeps telling me to leave him already because he will never change. Even after me being gone for 4 days its still more important for him to go out till whenever he wants drinking with his friends then to have me at home.

  25. Patrick Ward

    Leigh,I suggest you figure out what type of relationship you want to have with him, and share that vision with him. If he wants the same thing, then you can both move in the same direction. Sounds like you need clarification through a crucial conversation with him. You cannot commit to potential, but only what you have. I think the book “Boundaries” by Henry Cloud and John Townsend would be a good resource for you.

  26. Mom85

    Been thinking of leaving, he has had 2 affairs one lasted the first 3 years we were married tried to get him to consoling therapy he won’t stick to anything hasn’t change much just got better at hiding it !!! My pregnancy consisted of him cheating while I was most vulnerable it been 5 years and I’m still here my kids are getting older and I don’t want them to see mom living like this hurting cause I hurt or thinking it is ok to cheat! I do love him but I don’t think I’m in love with him please any advice

  27. Patrick Ward

    Thats a tough situation. I recommend you read “The Divorce Remedy” by Michele Weiner-Davis or “Boundaries” by Henry Cloud. These books have good advice for you personally to use the control and responsibility that you have in your marriage.

  28. Marjo

    Dear Patrick,

    I am in so much pain. Married to my husband 16 years, two teenage boys 15 and 13. We fought a lot, however I wanted to find solutions whereas he reiterated the problems. A doom and gloom attitude. However, I was always committed to make it work. He emailed me for a divorce last summer on our son’s graduation day from elementary. He said it was “all my fault”. He said there was no one else. He said to our son “I should have left her when you were in her tummy”. All summer he spent 5 hours a day at the gym, a martial arts class twice a week as well while I was on auto-pilot and just trying to survive and take care of the kids. I was so shocked. “There was no one else “he said, “can’t you see it’s YOU I want to get away from?”. He remained in the house for 4 more months and left on our Canadian Thanksgiving day. Moved into a house he purchased two blocks away. I found out there was someone else. It crushed me. He was so mean the last year together. He stopped talking to me. Never said my name. When I asked him what was wrong he would say “you’re angry and abusive”. I would cry and he would turn up the tv volume. He has been gone for four months and has filed for divorce. He is a new man, physically fit, new wardrobe, new everything. We are both 53. This woman separated from her husband as well. She is 12 years younger with a 7 year old. Do these relationships last? The boys don’t know. He still says there is no woman. But there is and many people know. When he introduces his “new girlfriend” do I act towards the kids that sh is someone new? They both suspect there was someone else as well. This has been the most difficult time of my life. I am so depressed. I value your response. Thanks in advance.

  29. Patrick Ward

    Very sorry to hear of the devastation to your family. The comment “we fought a lot” says there was likely a build up of negativity that undermined commitment. The fact is, it takes two people to make it work but only one person to leave the marriage. One person can’t be blamed for the relationship problems because it takes both to interact. The answer to your question about whether or not his new relationship will last is that it will probably not work – his life has just become more complex. We can’t hit the “reset” button on our lives. Instead we just experience the accumulation of our choices and their consequences. I encourage you and your children to get into counseling and into a supportive community. Also, I recommend two books: “The Divorce Remedy” by Michele Weiner-Davis and “Growing Through Divorce” by Jim Smoke.

  30. TSA

    Having been married 3 years, I’m seriously thinking about leaving my spouse. He recently retired, I still work full time. Our salaries were comparable before his retiring. Now that he’s a retiree it’s dropped slightly, so he relies solely on me to pay ALL the bills in the house, do all the cleaning, cooking, shopping, etc. He’s 8 years older than me & there is absolutely no intimacy because of his ED. He’s also deaf & I’m hearing. Our worlds are so different. Since marrying, he doesn’t call, I may get an occasional text usually asking what’s for dinner or him telling me what I need to do. He’ll go out with his deaf friends, but I’m never allowed because he thinks I’ll feel out of place & I would. We don’t go out anymore. Literally, all I do is take care of him & he does nothing for me in return, not as much as a thank you. I even pay a portion of his taxes because he claims my college age daughter & me, but doesn’t contribute to our care in the least.We live in my home, but he still maintains his house where he pays all those bills which are far less. He even had a tenant for 6 months, collected rent & still did not contribute to the household. He keeps his house because he wants to make sure he has a place to go if things don’t work out. His first marriage didn’t last & this is my first. I married him because he was a good provider to his now grown daughter, had a good job & was good to me. Now that we’re married, he doesn’t feel the need to do for me at all… not a birthday gift, Christmas gift, nothing. He loves being married & I would to if I were him. However, I am growing completely miserable, feel used, & feel like I’d be better off alone.

  31. Patrick Ward

    Terri,
    Sounds like you are ready to leave and you have a long list of justifications. I would suggest that you first, if you haven’t already, give him this list of complaints and see if he is willing to work on the marriage with you.

  32. Fed up with drunks

    Wouldn’t it be nice if we, the ones searching for solutions, were always the ones to blame for the problem? It’d be Sooo easy to solve then.
    I really wish the author of the post would get off his high horse and take into account people living in abusive or alcoholic households. We need help and advice, too. It is precisely because I DON’T and WON’T control my husband that he drinks like a college kid out of control. I’m so fricking sick of being blamed. “If you only did this and that, took care of him better, smile a little every once in a while” and then at night the abuse starts coming. Thanks for nothing.

  33. Marie

    Hi I got married at 23 I had 2 kids prior to our marriage. We married after 4 months of dating. Now a yr in a half later I find myself with 3 kids as a single mom again. Our relationship was toxic I was abusive toward my spouse in every way. A month ago I found out he was cheating and kicked him out the house. He has since been gone I’m doing therapy for self help. He has now a full relationship with the other girl he has laugh at my pain and has told his new girlfriend everything I once confide in him. He tells her everything but yet he doesn’t want a divorce and says one day it will all work out. He says all of this is not his fault and that i pushed him to cheat. He hasn’t said sorry and instead changes subject when the other woman is brought up. He doesn’t want counseling as his too happy with his new girlfriend. His only been with her for a month and left his own daughter for her. What do I do?

  34. Patrick Ward

    I agree that often the most responsible party in the marriage is the one who takes the blame, and often takes responsibility for ending the marriage. Pat Love says it best with the following from her 2006 “Smartmarriage” conference keynote speech:
    One person can do a lot, but one person cannot do it all.
    
You can’t take insulin to change your partner’s diabetes.

    You can’t take an antihistamine to clear your partner’s allergies.

    You can’t take Prozac to lift your partner’s depression.

    You can’t stop drinking for your partner.
    
You can’t make enough money to satisfy a compulsive spender.

    You can’t create enough sexual pleasure to satisfy a love or sex addict.

    You, nor the kids, can be perfect enough to prevent the rage of a rage-aholic.
    
You cannot be interesting enough to distract a work-aholic.

    You cannot reason with an unreasonable person.

  35. Patrick Ward

    You can push your spouse away, but you cannot push him/her into the arms of another person. If he is willing to attend marital therapy with you, I would highly encourage the two of you to participate in marital therapy. There has to be some kind of plan for reconciliation and some dialogue about this between the two of you.

  36. Crystal

    My husband and I dated for 2 years over skype and through visits (he is British), he moved to US and we have been married a little over 5 years. In August I noticed he seemed distant and tried to talk to him, but he was reluctant. At end of August, I discovered he has been having an affair with a coworker. From what info I could gather, it began around May. When I confronted him, he ended up moving out same day and moving in with her. I am devastated, never expected this! He changed into a completely different man while he was packing — wouldn’t touch or talk to me, despite me pleading for him to stay and work on things. Over the past 2 months, he has avoided me except for telling me 2 weeks after he left that he wanted a divorce. I have tried everything to convince him to come back, but he seems like a totally different man, and I think the other woman has complete control over him. I had to file for divorce to get spousal support, but I have made it very clear that I don’t want to divorce, I love him and want to save the marriage. He is cold and wants nothing to do with me — the same man was kissing me goodbye before going to work and telling me he loved me just the day before I discovered the affair! What should I do? What happened to my husband?

  37. Keisha

    Ive been married for 10yrs. My husband has hit me about 10 times throughout our relationship. Hes been unemployed for the most part of it, constantly spending money on his production company ( that hasnt had any success).In 2014 he began drinking heavily and staying out all night. He took my vehicle one day in June and came home an hour after I had to leave for work/drop our two kids to daycare. When I confronted him, he hit me infront of our kids. I left the house that day and never moved back in. We were separated for a yr ( he begged me for another chance, i declined). 11mths into the separation he ended up in the hospital. I visited him and immediately wanted him back. He had been seeing a girl at the time, that he agreed to leave and come back to me. We got back together and he hit me within the first 2months. We continued to try and I slowly saw him return to the person he was in2014- staying out, driking alot. He landed in the hosp again, early this year, and I was by his side the whol time- he promised me he would be a different person once he recoverd. He began to recover and began drinking again. He continued drinking and staying out late with friends. I met someone and asked my husband for some space. I began speaking to this gentlemen and pushingmy husband away,insisting on time apart ( so I could figure out what to do). I told him either he could move out for a bit or I would ( I sincerely wanted time apart so he could appreciate me and the kids.He became aggressive, started calling me names in front of the kids and eventually punched me in front of them. I made him leave that day. Instead of seeking counseling, I began a relationship with the man mentioned above. I put everything into the relationship as I wanted to avoid thinking of my husband. Its been about 10 weeks and I cant stop thinking of my husb. My new guy is everything that he isnt ( works, is financially stable, hasnt been abusive in any way) but I cant get my husband off of my mind. I have tremendous guilt about the way I ledt the situation- He is living out of his car to make things worse( no job). I dont know what to do- I still love him, but I dont know if anything would be different if I went back to him. I am so hurt and confused.

  38. Patrick Ward

    Keisha,
    Often in a harmful and unhealthy relationship there is still some good. Over time, we tend to forget the bad and think more about the good. However, when we return to the relationship and that person hasn’t changed (and it sounds like your husband hasn’t) you will still have the bad. I would encourage you to seek out counseling and also read the book “Boundaries” by Henry Cloud.

  39. Patrick Ward

    Crystal, I hear this often with relationships that began online. The challenge to getting to know someone at a distance, or through the internet, is that you only get the information about them that they share with you. You don’t get to interact with their context, other people in their lives, or have them go through a “vetting” process with other people who know both of you. It would be interesting for you to find out more of his history from others who have known him and dated him before in his life. A book I would recommend is “How to Avoid Falling in Love with a Jerk” by John Van Epp. Its a very good guide on how to really, really get to know someone.

  40. Abigail

    My husband has been separated from me for 3 months. I was blindsided and got the “I love you but I’m not in love with you” speech. We have been together for 12 years with a couple of breakups earlier in the relationship. We got back together 8 years ago and have now been married for 5. We have a 3 year old daughter. There is no infidelity or abuse nor has he ever communicated his unhappiness with me-through words or actions. Shortly before he left, he booked a surprise Hawaiian vacation for our 5 year anniversary, we bought a brand new car together and we have been trying to have another baby- then seemingly out of nowhere, he dropped the bomb. I have tirelessly tried to get him to agree to work on things and find a solution, however he refuses. He told me that our “issues” are foundational and that is why we broke up so many times in the past. I then asked him why he married me and why we decided to have a family. He doesn’t really have a good answer. I have absolutely no say in any of this and it is killing me. Even after all of this pain he has caused, I love him deeply and want nothing more than to work it out. At least be givin the chance to. He refuses and says, “I’m just not interested. I’ve made my decision. I’m done.” The hard part is, when we are together, we get along wonderfully. We share parenting, religious, financial and ethical views. We have a ton in common and we constantly make each other laugh. What is happening? What do I do? How can I get him to realize what a possible mistake he is making? All of his issues with me are so repairable, which is what baffles me the most. Help!

  41. Patrick Ward

    Abigail, very sorry to hear of your heartache and trouble. The abandonment that doesn’t make sense is the worst. I would encourage him to at least give you a weekend to attend an intensive marriage therapy seminar. Here is one suggestion: http://www.savemymarriage.com. The “I’m not in love with you” explanation is an indicator that your husband is confusing love with an emotional experience. Love is a decision; an act of will. Secondly its an emotional feeling. He needs to give you a rational reason as well as this emotional excuse.

  42. Lori

    On february 18, 2017, I came home from a guild meeting and noticed first thing that my husband’s work truck was packed to the brim with stuff from the house. I had no idea what was going on. I knew he had been grumpy more then normal lately. Usually his grumpiness was only when I mentioned I needed help with something or needed some basic necessities like clothes or if I mentioned I was getting a hair cut the next day he’d say “I don’t have to pay for it do I?” I’ve been lucky to get a haircut once a year with his attitude. He complains about me not finding a job but how can I even look for a job when my hair looks raggedy and my clothes don’t fit properly? I’ve had to take on the responsibility of doing everything around the house starting back in 2010. Well anyways…when I went into the house on the above mentioned date…..he said I’m leaving you and don’t bother following me. I don’t hate you but I can’t cohabitat with you anymore. I want to retire a single man and then he said some very cruel things and complained about how I treated him in the last year. Note: in the last year my dad afibbed and went into the hospital…a couple days later my mom went into the same hospital with a UTI that went septic and over the course of the next couple months my siblings and I moved my parents into assisted living and then my mother passed away in June. All during this time I was still having to come home clean house, mow an acre and a quarter of grass with a push mower all while having a busted knee and a corn seed on the bottom of the foot that goes to the leg with the busted knee making it incredibly hard to walk. I had asked him for help and I got very little help.
    Well now he’s come back to the house several times to try and claim things that he wants. He’s going around the house like a 2 year old in a toy store and is trying to claim things that I brought into the marriage. I’m sure he’s wanting to sell this stuff or give it to the people he’s living with to help pay his rent. He’s even tried to claim the bench that goes to my make up table that I’ve had since I was 16 and I didn’t even meet him until I was in my 20s. We’ve been married 25 years.

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