As a divorced woman who has endured the break-up of a marriage and the consequences of the process (namely not being with my children all the time anymore and the financial strain of going it alone), I certainly feel for any other woman who finds herself submerged in the helplessness of a failing marriage and the torture of a strained relationship with a partner. It broke my heart to recently hear my friend’s confession that she hates her marriage and feels like she’s drowning in anger and sadness.
What can I tell my dear friend to help her in such a difficult time?
How can I make anyone feel better about possibly ending a marriage spanning over two decades with three beautiful children involved?
First of all, I have wanted to state for a long time that just because I am divorced and make a part time career out of writing about divorce, I am not what you might call a divorce champion. What I mean to say is that I am not in favor of divorce, itself. I think that divorce is a very sad state of affairs that every couple should work their very hardest to avoid. It should never be considered the “plan B” or an acceptable means to dispose of a relationship that becomes too inconvenient, dull, frustrating, or whatever else the problem is.
All marriages have problems, some more serious than others, from time-to-time. At times every marriage is less-than-perfect. At times we all secretly wish we could strangle our spouse. I would challenge any two people on the planet to cohabitate for 20-odd years and have to share money, a bed, and all aspects of their lives without occasionally finding themselves at the end of their rope.
I write about divorce because I have lived it, I have survived it, I find writing very therapeutic for myself, and I am hopeful that my words may help others struggling through similar situations find their way out of the darkness. As a rule, I don’t want to see anyone get divorced; but, some people should get divorced! I am here to say that as long as there is marriage, some of us will end up divorcing, and we need not beat ourselves up and feel like the lepers of society for it!
As long as we find ourselves in the state of divorce, we may as well make the best of it, reflect on what we can learn from the situation, become stronger and better people, and use the experience to help us in the future. We need not feel ashamed or less for having been divorced, and we certainly need all the help and encouragement possible to make it through!
So, no, my dear friend, I would hate for you to have to go through the agony of a divorce; yet, it tears at my heart to hear what you have to say about your marriage! It makes me want to cry to hear you say that you wish you could just kill yourself and end it all. It is devastating to know that the talented and beautiful woman I know feels disrespected and unloved in her own home. It angers me to know that your children see the way you are treated by their father and that you have to explain to them that what they just witnessed was not right and unacceptable.
I can say that I know what you mean when you say that the work day is your only respite from the gloom and chaos of your home. I used to cry every Friday on the way home from work because I knew I would have to spend the entire weekend trapped in the same home as my ex.
I know exactly what you’re saying when you literally think of yourself as a single mom because he is nowhere to be found when you need help with the kids, let alone some time for yourself or as a couple
I can identify with your admission that you hate the man you married because he’s so angry and distant, but you can’t bear to break apart your home.
Do you deserve better? Absolutely! Do you need to take drastic steps to save your marriage? Yes!
Like so many of us have, you are hanging on for dear life “for the kids.” I can tell you that divorce isn’t the worst thing that can happen to a child! Living in a home where their mom and dad argue all the time, where mom cries all the time, and where it’s the norm to hear dad tell mom to “f___ off” is the worst thing that can happen to a child.
I will never lie to you and tell you that divorce is easy or a quick fix, but if you end up taking this path, your children may finally have the opportunity to experience living in a home that is peaceful and not clouded over by the stress of bickering and tension. Your youngest is only 8, meaning you have at least ten more years to suffer through at the going rate. Without some serious relationship first-aid, things are only going to get worse rather than better. That’s ten years your youngest will have to witness dysfunctional relationship skills and your own life will be of the poorest quality.
Counseling would be my first suggestion because the two of you have to figure out what the root of all of your anger and frustration is. Maybe you can both commit to sitting down together to sort through these issues yourselves, but an objective professional may do the best job of teasing through the issues to discover the truth. No matter how you try to solve this problem, it has to be a joint effort! It can’t be just one of you trying, one of you caring, and one of you doing all the work!
I know you’re worried about your kids, the life you’ve built together, and what would happen to your retirement, and other assets you’ve accumulated and intertwined for decades. Don’t give up without a fight! A marriage is a beautiful and sacred thing to be cherished and protected. You’re in a really bad spot now, and something will have to change.
If the two of you work it out and stay together, I will toast you on your 25th anniversary. If you give it your best shot and decide that divorce is your answer, I will be here for you in any way I can. The place you’re in right now is one of the darkest. You can only go up from here; so, either ascend like a phoenix and show your children how you will do what is best for you and for them as a single woman, or having conquered your marriage woes and with your husband by your side.
Please don’t make wallowing in the dark middle ground your permanent residence because it will kill your beautiful spirit! You have made the first critical step of acknowledging there is a problem and beginning to reach out for support. Accept help for yourself and take care of yourself!