Men’s Challenges with Separation and Divorce

Men’s Challenges with Separation and Divorce

“Women grieve the loss of a relationship before ending it, men grieve it after it has ended,” may say it best. Statistically, 65-70% of divorces are filed by women (90% in college-educated couples). As expected, women initiating divorce ultimately identify their spouse as the “true” initiator. The irony is that men, despite their own dissatisfaction are more likely to resist divorce. The majority immediately scramble to salvage their marriages, citing family or finances, prepared to agree to anything to keep their world in tact. Often this is in reaction to the shock, and not being prepared. But much of this too is to avoid the complex array of losses and challenges divorce presents a man.

Many of these losses though, are a result men’s typical, if not default, role within marriage of being the financial provider. No matter how enlightened we are as a culture, it is still uncommon for men to be the primary caregivers, and women the financial provider. Despite the security and sense of identity traditional marriages provide, they enable men to neglect the particular areas of personal growth that separation and divorce forced them to face. While he continued to develop his career skills, he did so at the cost of neglecting skills of domestic life–especially maintaining social-connectedness. Because women typically grieve relationships before end, they feel relief, experience less stress, and adjustment better after than men. Additionally, are less likely to isolate, and seek support and companionship with friends or family. Apart from career, a man’s partner is typically his most vital relationship. As a result, the loss is often experienced as trauma. Though this may sound strong, determining whether an event is traumatic doesn’t necessarily depend on the particular event, but how the individual experiences the event. Experiencing trauma weakens an individual’s basic integrity, compromise one’s confidence, and distort their attitudes about others. It’s not uncommon for men to feel inadequate, and are socially alienated when their marriage ends.

After separation and divorce, a man may find himself up against still having to maintain a career, while grieving the loss of his marriage and, arranged contact or time with his children. Because he  was working he may not previously have spent sustained time with them and have difficulty adjusting to this, the routines and the work required caring for children. This adjustment is probably being filtered through idealized expectations underlying reactive emotions, forced to cope with these new, unwanted circumstances. Relatively simple things such as cooking, cleaning, shopping, parenting and feeling the lack of supportive adult relationships can emphasize inadequacies, along with very real mounting challenges. Meanwhile, the person he once turned to for support and partnership is no longer there in the same capacity and, in all likelihood, feels like an adversary who has little compassion for his struggle with what she’d managed throughout the marriage. This can feel like payback for past conflicts around division of labor, leaving him with a sting of self recrimination. While the legal system enforces financial support, it doesn’t enforce emotional support. Even though a woman’s economic status lessons, she is at least granted a base line support and additionally, in most cases, a designated break from her children. In the emotional and domestic realm, men aren’t necessarily granted these, and often have to start from scratch.

Humorously speaking, all of this is nothing short of a perfectly engineered cluster fuck to the male psychology, especially given a man’s need to be self reliant and the typical difficulty a man has reaching out for help, appearing weak. However, the cluster fuck is that they find themselves, unprepared, ill-equipped, but forced to take on seemingly basic responsibilities they had relied on their spouses to manage, yet flailing badly. Many men typically don’t know what to do, or how to structure the time with their children—or how to parent in any way that resembles how their mother does and, much to his aggravation, his children seem to favor. But his even greater challenge what to do with himself. Simply choosing an activity may tie him in knots. Now having all the time he otherwise got flak for when married, he may not know what he wants, or even likes to do. There’s only so much T.V., gym time, Garageband, or Internet porn one can indulge in, short of risking developing an addiction to it. Again, if typical, and his social life diminished, he’ll probably isolate. As a result his feelings of loss and loneliness will be more intense, and be prone to idealize the past, comparing it with the present. Despite the male-appeal of a challenge, being divorced lacks an essential male ingredient: choice, which emphasizes the cluster. He didn’t choose the legal and financial stresses, giving money to an ex-wife or lawyers he probably doesn’t like; divvying up household items, and then having to purchase items to replace those his wife got. It’s hard to reconcile providing financial support, while feeling an ex-wife isn’t compassionate, capable of feelings, being nice, or refraining what seems like newly spawned righteousness. No wonder withholding, or being gamey, with financial support becomes the only recourse of striking back, or punishing his ex-wife for the hurt he feels she caused him. In essence he’s saying, You won’t have me, but you’ll have my money? Or If you think your life is better with out me, let me show you how bad it actually can be. This can spur someone to spend thousands on legal fees to ensure his ex-wife won’t get hundreds. The resentment caused by a divorce can corrupt an individual’s principals like a virus.

The choices for the newly separated/divorced man apart from this can appear grim. Many men throw themselves into new, sexual relationships, seeking comfort or distraction from the pain and difficulty adjusting to his new life. Some men grow bitter. Others remain fragile and insecure. A majority of men isolate—even though this deepens their sense of aloneness, and ultimately leave them stuck. Although most men feel the need to get unstuck, and get on with their lives, it’s often difficult to distinguish between action and distraction.

Know and trust that things will get better, even though right now it’s impossible to believe. But have faith. Men can heal, but not without some scars. Life will always be different, have a hitch, be slightly askew. The mind plays tricks. One may wish to be back within that intact family. But is this  because it was easier. You may feel you know you could do better now. If you honestly remember back, was it? But how long before you slip back, or on some level are there revenge fantasies? Much of what seems like hindsight is fantasy. You may have to ask whether “better” is being mistaken for easier. The advice often given to people who’ve quit drinking when they feel tempted to drink again is, “Walk yourself through it.” Imagine reconciling, and living together again. No doubt you’ve changed, but how do you imagine it being with your wife in the kitchen, or discussing what were difficult topics? How will it be going to bed? Think back, were you and your ex-wife even get along? Did she treat you as a friend, or someone in your life now would? The biggest shock men experience upon dating or starting a new relationship is that the women actually like them, or take what they say at face value, believe them, isn’t keeping score.

Give yourself time to accept your circumstances. This is your life now, own it—despite any hopes of reuniting. Remember, denial is one of the mind’s most powerful tricks and defense mechanisms, and can stall opportunities for growth. Even if re uniting with your spouse is a possibility, this doesn’t negate the potential growth. Think of it as a chance to exercise a part of yourself that you haven’t had to.

Learn to navigate the on-going emotional turmoil. Be aware of your thinking. You may re experience the most painful aspects of your divorce in an otherwise neutral, or normal occurrence. Become aware of what triggers you. But realize few triggers have a singular, cause and effect response. More often a single trigger will prompt a cluster of corresponding associated triggers. For example, your ex-wife hugging your children goodbye when you pick them up. This may bring up feelings of betrayal of separation, as in, left out, imposing impose a misplaced frame of mind over the present one, infusing the time with your children. The list could go on, and yet while all of these touch upon separate aspects of your circumstances, they all relate back to the divorce. By retracing your thinking, recognizing along the way what triggered negative feelings and your subsequent emotional reactions, then separate these from the present circumstances. That way you can deal with them at an appropriate time, rather than being at the mercy of raw reactivity.

Similarly, recognize when you’re right, but accept it doesn’t mean others, such as your ex-wife, will necessarily see this. Part of the process of divorce is learning to individuate, but by differentiating. In other words, developing who you are now, separate from your ex. This may include the ideals, values, and ways of doing things you formerly shared.

What men are typically bad at, but need especially going through separation and divorce, is support. This may just mean being around people in a café, or spending time with friends. The important thing is to still see yourself as a social being, being around other social beings, to recognize the value, and re-engage socially. This also offers another context than your past relationship, and helps in imagining a social future.

There are also more specific forms of support, such as a therapist, a divorce support group, or a friendship with someone going through the same thing. Having a one on one relationship with another man going through a divorce can be life saving, and provides a shared sense of your experience, struggles, healing and growth. It helps to tell one’s story over and over again, but also the opportunity of blending new insights and awareness. Having such a relationship can bare witness, and reflect back the changes, insights, and progress your story. Rarely will two individuals be in the exact place in the process, and may be able to help each other in the places they’ve already been through. Given the statistics, it shouldn’t be hard to find another man going through it.

Finding new interests or rediscovering former interests can re-direct, or channel, the otherwise aimlessness of being single. Most of us are, by nature, restless. Men are doers. The easiest solution for emptiness is distraction, although it often only amounts to—unproductive doing. Distraction keeps us busy, our minds off painful feelings of loss, incapability, failure, and loneliness. Don’t forget, married life occupied lots of time. Yet these feelings need to be experienced before we can adjust and move past them. What separation and scheduled custody fortunately or otherwise provide is time, perhaps the first “free time” you’ve had in years. It is only to be expected you may not know how to use it initially. It may be useful to consider this time as an opportunity to do the things you couldn’t do while you were Married. For example, creating a list of activities you  would enjoy doing. The key is to be active, but engaged. Don’t let your life remain on hold, because you’re going through this. Finding activities and interests you can develop and claim as your own, not only occupies this time, but enhances your new sense of identity. Interests can be hobbies, like creative projects, motorcycling, sports; activities that engage, challenge, and help to define you. Some activities may have a communal sense, bringing you into a larger community, or social network. Interests that help to define us also help to connect us, and connection with others is more easily established when we have something in common, than when we eventually know ourselves and our likes. Try different things.

Exercise not only helps reduce emotional and physical stress, but can help you look and feel better. Looking good and feeling good provides confidence and greater self esteem. As the grief passes, you  might become aware of being attractive, or attracted to others, and may want to begin flirting, entertain the idea of dating, even an openness to new relationship. Looking and feeling good only helps this.

One of the mistakes some men make is just getting by, maintaining the bare essentials. This often bespeaks of not accepting their circumstances, as if they were waiting around to be rescued, or reunited with their spouse. Again, whether the break up is permanent or not, one’s quality of life, including a sense of competency, is a day to day endeavor; and if one should get back together with their ex, they want to do so as better functioning individuals. So take ownership of your living space. Organize your home in a way that suits you. Many men defer to their ex’s sense of decor, or household organization, forgetting their gripes about these throughout their marriage. Take a moment and consider being able to set something down and it being there when you look for it. Ignoring your own sense of organization, style, or decor, may not only be a reminder of her presence, though more probably her absence, but continuing to keenly experience the separation, or maintain an underlying hope it will be reversed. Even a failed attempt at your own decor is taking ownership of your life through its environment. You may have to go through several attempts until you find what works and feels right for you. It gives incentive to invite others to your place, hopefully receiving compliments that reflect your re-emerging sense of self, home and life style. Whether it’s a pinball machine in the kitchen, or an ultra modern living room set, the exercise pushes one towards acceptance and potential hopefulness, and moves one further towards embracing their life as an individual.

Parenting is always tricky, but especially trying without the buffer or assistance of an additional parent. It’s not only a tactical feat, but an emotional one. When married you may have had the “one on one plan,” one parent supervises a child while the other supervises another. Now, as a single parent, you have to split yourself between two or more. Sibling flair-ups can pose real challenges, or having to walk to one side of the playground because one your children has a conflict with another child, and then immediately return to the original side because your other child needs help getting on a swing. Or how about bringing both your son and your daughter into the public men’s room because they need to go, or you can’t leave them unattended. You can quickly feel spread very thin, and incapable of providing either child with enough. On top of this, either of these can trigger loss, and anger towards your ex. Be prepared for potentially getting triggered, resist the convicting belief circumstances should be, or would be better if reversed.  Believing so, no matter the conviction will likely grant this happening. That’s just the mind’s tricks again, seeking an immediate solution to not only a long term problem, but a  far more potentially permanent on. Show the mind, you have tricks of your own, and try to re-consider any of these situations can also be excellent opportunities to exercise your own unique parenting style, and strengthen your relationship with your children. Just remember to be aware of your susceptibility to triggers, and that they in turn trigger a cluster of others associated with the original. Take a moment on the side of the play ground to gather yourself, go back and trace your chain of thoughts. With practice and experience, you’ll be able to distinguish these, and separate from the experience with your children, and set them aside for when you can process them later. But don’t worry if you forget to do this later, the important thing is to develop the ability deal with them rather than react

Invest in reading a parenting book, even one that just gives some overview. for example, “Pocket Parenting,” is organized by common problems faced by parents. Although it’s written with two parents in mind, it can nevertheless help you get a sense of parenting techniques. “Parenting After a Divorce,” is a concise book that covers many of the common problems of parenting after a divorce. While “Parenting from Within,” requires a more careful reading, provides a models to gain insight and understanding about how our experiences  growing up with our parents, may have shaped, and contribute to how we parent and react to our own children. The internet also provides a wealth of information on parenting, through forums and articles—as well as activities. Many men have challenges with what to do with their children, especially when previously activities were left up to the mother. The best advice I’ve heard is to do those things you always wanted to do as a child but didn’t. This not only can be healing, but add some authentic enthusiasm to activities.

Dealing with the ex-spouse around co parenting is an on-going process. How can one go from wanting to reach out and strangle to coming together collaboratively to discuss and decide the best for the children? First off, time heals all wounds. There are many stages and opportunities within the grieving process. Initiatively keep it to the business at hand, focus on the children, scheduling, logistics, concerns, appointments–trying to keep personalities out of it. Be aware of the functions of the left and right brain: the left does the speaking, while the right fills in the context, the feelings, associations and desire to strike. Offer the left, and, for the time being, keep the right to yourself—you can always call a friend to vent afterwards. If and when this goes well, you might try to touch upon the unresolved stuff, gently (if possible) and in bits. Remember you can dislike what a person says, or is even about, but not have to express this. It’s a part of respecting yourself as an individual and a way of letting others know you expect them to do the same. In marriage you were somewhat enmeshed, adversarially contingent, but no longer have to be in the same relational dynamic. She may be pushing buttons, pulling strings, try and simply observe this, accept this while standing your ground, self sufficiently and as an individual. Own what you feel or think and speak from your emerging sense of self. That isn’t to say out do, or act from an agenda, but state yourself clearly and openly. Again, much of this can be developed and practiced with a trusted friend or therapist. And, trust that time heals all wounds, and hokey as it sounds: This too shall pass. Like anything, it’s a practice.

While many men were resigned to their wardrobe being a bit out of style while married, they may find they can’t be after divorced. Your wardrobe may be dated, or you’ve had the same hairstyle since before getting married. You may consider some new clothes or hair stylist to feel good again about yourself—or feel attractive. The conscious attention and effort to your appearance and style shows others (and not just your ex) that you’re here, have ownership, and take pride in yourself.

Re-learning to relate with women can be tricky. After a divorce men are vulnerable in many different ways. They may be lonely, gun shy, insecure, bitter, or over compensate. In early single life, prior to marriage, many men looked to women more with “their eye on the prize,” than for the simple aim of getting to know them as individuals. Developing female friendships is a way to re-learn how to interact with women, and provides information as to the kind of woman you might find interesting once you’re ready to date. Again, since you aren’t dating yet,  but forming friendships, you doesn’t have to have an “eye on the prize,” but but free to simply check out the world around you.

At some point though, friends may begin encouraging you to get back out there…and…date. And just maybe you feel…reasonably ready. But having spent a number of years being someone’s boyfriend, fiancé and then husband, it takes time to be an individual again. Otherwise you run the risk of turning the next relationship into a transitional or replacement relationship. But it’s only understandable you might. The first new relationships may possibly wind up being learning experiences. You need to have at least a somewhat renewed sense of yourself before you begins to consider what you wants from a new relationship. Otherwise you may end up dating anyone who seems unlike your ex, but in reality, is potentially a disguised version. It’s essential to have learned and grown from the mistakes of your previous relationship or you just repeat these in your next. equally important is learning to be self-sufficient again, so you don’t unconsciously seek dependence in his next relationship. One is better off wanting a relationship than needing one. Divorce allows, if not forces, one to reconsider, not just how to make a relationship work, but how to improve one’s participation and, just as importantly, the kind of participation they need from a partner. Ask yourself, How have I been in relations? How am I as an individual now? How do I want to be in my next relationship, and how do I want my partner to be?

Be ready to find that there may be a new rules, or codes, to dating and  how relationships are established and operate. Starting to date, though tempting, shouldn’t be an actual consideration until the divorce is settled, and good portion of the loss grieved. No one can step fully into a new relationship, when they still have a foot in the past relationship. Be reasonably sure your thoughts aren’t still caught up with your ex. Have you developed adequate mental resources, gotten over feeling unbearably stretched by the process of divorce, creating a home, parenting. Haven’t made reasonable efforts to develop your identity as an single individual. Because it’s difficult to actually give anything a fresh start, when remaining attached  to previous relationship—even if it’s based only on lingering negativity. It can be helpful to talk about your ex in explaining the dynamics of the previous relationship. This can give your new partner a sense of what you’ve been through, or gain some understanding of potential triggers, vulnerabilities and their origin. For reasons like these having them out of the table can be productive. However, dwelling on former spouse, providing overtly negative actions or biased traits, may have an underlying, or overt intention of enlisting the new partner as an ally against a hostile ex. While on one hand it may keep you in your former marriage, and continue maintain your attachment to your ex, on the other, the new partner may feel like she is in completion with your ex, wonder if you’ll talk about her the same way if the two of you don’t work out, or that she’ll finally get tired of having another woman’s presence in the relationship.

When you do date: try to think if it as chance to have fun. Date all different types of women; different ages and from all different backgrounds. Really take advantage of this opportunity and diversify. Although dating after you’ve gone through a divorce can be a challenge, it’s an experience that is full of promise too. Keep your options open and try to resist comparing new women with your ex wife. Leave the past in the past and enjoy your present.

Although fear of rejection is real, and normal, try to look at dating from the point of view of your being the consumer. Consider giving priority to what they have to offer, rather than visa versa. In other words, try not to personalize their not being a good fit, or their feeling you’re not. Looked at from this perspective, if either feel it isn’t a good fit, it’s unlikely going to work and move on. Often times individuals get stuck in a completion, or the challenge of proving themselves, or disproving the other. It’s not being a bit is often just a fact, not always a fault. How ever if it is due to a fault, consider it constructively, and if it’s valid (perhaps your dating skills are rusty), use it as a way to improve. After divorce, in the absence of the real or perceived soothing a woman or a relationship offers, men can mistakenly seek this, and overlook the quality of companionship or whether they get along.

It’s hard, if not impossible work trying to forgive ex-spouse. Forgiveness is a process of practicing acceptance. One needs to accept the fact that they cannot control the things his ex-spouse is doing, saying, or thinking; nor can he stop her new lifestyle, and the reasons she gave others for the divorce. Accept the fact that you cannot control the other. Instead look for what you can control: your own actions, thoughts, and words. Eventually you need to work towards accepting that even though you were a good husband and fought—but surrendered and grieved the loss—of your marriage, you were not perfect, and contributed to the break-up in your own ways and  need accept your faults and contributions to the divorce. This is not easy to do, but gradually, to help stop laying all the blame on your ex-spouse for your anger and pain. A man who had been divorced for five years recently said, “Since we first separated my ex-wife was always being hostile, suspicious, and even now treats my prior short-coming in our marriage with a familiarity as if it was unquestionably apparent they continued. Until recently I’ve firmly maintained that I have been reasonable, relatively calm, never reacting or provoking in response. But the other day she commented that the kids were looking worn out, and could use some new ones, but my tone responding, I’m planning on taking care of this, intentionally implied that the reason I would take care of it, was because she couldn’t afford to. My response was influenced by a trigger signaling a cluster of triggers, all associated with how I perceived her initiating the divorce without considering the consequences. Specifically her not having achieved what she believed the marriage to me prevented her from, despite having now had five years to do it, and now I had to pick up the slack for it. The kids needing clothes is just a fact of life, and doesn’t merit any need to sign blame, but I realized I was inadvertently, and not so subtly doing so now, while all this time not able to recognize that I continue to keep this resentment present, maybe as much, or perhaps more than she does. Divorce never stops offering opportunities for growth.”

 

  1. Luis

    I just recently got hit with a separation from my wife. Apparently she’s been unhappy and wants out. I reacted exactly how described in this article (wanting to fix, being alone, etc). she’s pretty adamant of the separation and i think she may want divorce but I feel shes having difficulty saying it out loud knowing how difficult it will be for all of us (we have 3 kids). Versus just saying separation “lightens the burden” to now discover ourselves individually.
    Her father married about 2 years ago and now has new 2 stepsons that are our age and we all have a great rapport. I come to find out however that my wife has been consoling ALOT with her stepbrother, who has recently married earlier this year. It’s so much so (calls and texts) that I instinctively have bad thoughts. I confronted her questioning their relationship and confirmed a suspension about him having marital issues with his wife. So my concern is if he has negative thoughts about his marriage, and my wife having the same for ours, how healthy is that for them to “support” each other when most likely their focus is more in the negative side of life, meaning that puts a burden on hope of salvaging our marriages. I could only assume and believe their “poison” to each other and most likely will support a desire for divorce on both parts bc there’s no “positive” reinforcements or encouragements to salvage things, and single life looks prettier and prettier.
    Should I say something to her of my concern of the possible toxicity this relationship could lead since it feels like it’s not giving a fair chance for reconciling our relationship due to a certain persons point of view that can possibly be influencing “separating” choices?

    Reply
    1. Larry O'Connor, MFT Post author

      Luis,

      Individuals coming from relationships they are unhappy with will definately feed off each other. A similar thing can happen with in-laws, where one spouse goes to family to air things out they should with the other spouse. I think saying something to your wife is a good idea. But rather than telling her, why not ask her about it? Is she sharing things with her step brother (in a nice, genuine tone, btw), and if she tells you she is–good for you! You’ve made it past a significant check point. Next, in the same tome, ask her about her friendship wih him, and work into what she gets out of talking. You’re making it safe for her to talk about it, and by showing her it isn’t a threat, you’re also taking its power away. If she’s unhappy, and really wants out, then she needs to discuss it with you–maybe face you, make you a real person, who might have a response that goes counter to the story she has been working off of and developing with her stepbrother.

      Larry

  2. Amy Luoma

    Hi Larry,
    I went through a long divorce. After we were divorced we tried to make nice again, and my ex shocked me by saying, I’d probably ask you to marry me again.” then four months later he wanted to move in. I resisted his comments and was even angered by them.

    Now I approached him, fast forward two years about going on a date. He flat out rejected me.

    We are nice to each other, but after two years of him caring so much for me, now I’m ready to maybe go on a date, and he rejects me.

    I guess I got the impression that since I didn’t sleep w him, he doesn’t want to get to know me as a person, because our marriage was very physical.

    I guess I feel I am worth getting to know….that physical stuff….been there, done that…he’s a wonderful father to our 4 year old

    Thanks

    Reply
  3. Sandra

    Hi Larry,

    I have been dating a guy about two months who is my age, 39, out of the divorce about a year, though the custody schedule was finalized more recently. He has told me that she asked for the divorce, it was a complete surprise to him and he did try to get her back for a while.

    She was a stay at home mom, and he was the sole provider for their 13 years of marriage. She came from a wealthy family, and he says one of her reasons for divorce is that he had been unable to buy the family a house. She insisted on sending the kids to Catholic school, so he reasoned with her that he couldn’t do it all.

    From what he tells me about his ex, she seems controlling and very mean. She is hostile towards him and creates trouble for him when possible (feeding the kids dinner when he wanted to take them out to dinner on his birthday so they won’t be hungry, yelling at him for leaving the 11 and 13 year olds alon at home when he walked a block to the 7-11 with the 8 year old, threatening to call the FBI and accuse him of kidnapping for taking the kids out of state to visit his dad for Christmas break).

    He currently has shared custody, he arranged his schedule to have them Saturday to Tuesday, so that leaves only weeknights for dating, which has been ok. The first three weeks of dating were magical, then Thanksgiving came and he said that things got ugly, and he’s been pretty distant since then. He tells me that he’s scared to embroil me in his messy life, he’s alluded to being financially strapped (30K in attorney fees and counting), and he has mentioned that he doesn’t think he’s worthy of me dating him.

    I think he’s a wonderful man, intelligent funny, warm, charming, a great and dedicated father, I admire him, and he’s a fantastic lover.

    Do you think this is a relationship I should pursue? Do you think the fact that the ex is still causing him so many problems means he needs more time before he’s ready for a relationship? I don’t want to add stress or give him ultimatums, but going days without hearing from him makes me think he’s just too distracted to be in a relationship, no matter how much he might like me.

    Thank you,
    Sandra

    Reply
    1. Larry O'Connor, MFT Post author

      Hi Sandra,

      While initially I was tempted to say, yes, give him an ultimatum. This was because he seemed to respond well to demands, given the details of his ex-wife. But, then look how happy he is with her. I guess the bigger question is why he’s so fearful of her? You asked if he needed more time. Yes, I imagine, but what about the cost this would be for you? He didn’t ask whether you would put up with his messy life, but assumed you wouldn’t and made the choice for you. Would you wait? Rather than an ultimatum, why not give him a choice. It sounds like you want a relationship with him, but you don’t to go days without hearing from him. Give him the choice: Do you want to be in this relationship, or not? If so you need him to not distance himself or keep you our of decisions that effect you. If he doesn’t be prepared to walk away. He may learn a bit about his choice-making.

      Larry

    2. Chell

      I was recently married to a man who I’ve dated on and off for the past decade. We share one son together and since the marriage last year, he has disconnected from the marriage completely. He refuses to communicate, to own his financial responsibilities, he has admitted to having a gambling problem which has picked back up full speed, he is having a phone/emotional affair with a woman from his past (who he was once intimate with but now claims they are only friends because she is a great communicator), and there is suspected drug use (prescription pills (opioids), marijuana use, etc). Due to the drug use and falling asleep, he has wrecked every car that we have owned. I have attempted everything I know that is humanly possible to repair our broken marriage but to no avail. He prefers to sleep on the couch and there is no intimacy in the marriage, which makes me feel alone and abandoned. For about a week and a half now, he is staying out late at night and coming home when he is tired and wants to go to sleep and do the same thing over again the next day. He is very irritated and bothered by the conversation of financial issues and will shut down and refuse to communicate. This week, there was a physical altercation between us when I was attempting to discuss our issues and he proceeded to text the other female. When asked general questions by me, he is aggressive in his responses and is using more profanity than normal. Our child is in love with the idea of our family being together as one but I’m not sure how much more I can take, mentally or emotionally. I love him but I’m not sure that love is enough to save us when he is not invested at this point in our marriage. Should I continue fighting for our marriage or move forward with my life ? Any advice helps.

      Thanks,
      Chell

  4. SLS

    I have been with my parter for over 7 months now and he was seperate from his wife for 5 months before we met and started dating. We dated for around two months as I was unsure of starting something with him as he had only been seperate for a few months. Our relationship developed slow and steady but two months ago I met his two children and things have move very fast since I met the children. The kids love me and we get along so well and I have fallen in love with his two boys, he see his ex wife all time and they talk on the phone a lot and seem to get along just fine but it seems he still does everything for I.e picking her up from work and dropping her to pick her car up. I have told him how I feel about this which hurts me as it seem the ex wife comes before me, I also have told him that I understand he needs to keep the peace with her but as soon as she said jump he says how high. He explain to me that he feels he has to keep her happy and that’s why he does these things. Just recently he has changed and seems so distant towards me and we had a big talk and he said he isn’t happy with him self and it hurts him to see how much all this is hurting me. We have agreed to slow our relationship down for the time being to give him time to sort out what he wants as he is questioning that maybe we should split up because of how unfair all this is on me. I have told him that I’m with him 100% all the way because I love him. So at the moment we are stil in a relationship but only seeing each other once or twice a week. He said to me that the pressure of everything else has taken away the excitement of us and he wants that back again, he wants to miss me again so I’m feeling pretty shitty at the moment and I’m not sure if I should leave for good or just sit tight give him the space he needs. Can you please help me?? ?

    Reply
    1. Larry O'Connor, MFT Post author

      SLS,

      It sounds like you would like to have a genuine relationship, but he wants something in-between. He can keep the peace with his ex, if he focused on the relationship between the two of you and not brought his kids into it, but also picking her up from work may be perpetuating or continuing to participate in a familar role. Something told you he might not be ready, that it’s too soon for him, and there seems to be evidence to back this up. Divorce takes a long time to get over–first from the impact, then getting on one’s feet individually, as a parent and then as a potential partner with somebody else. That may be a lot of stages to wait through when you’re already at the potential partner with somebody else stage.

      Larry

  5. A

    Hi Larry,

    I am 24 years old and married for 6 months but been with my wife for 5 and a half years. She has decided she wants a divorce. The past 18 months have been hard. We bought our first house last October 2014. She didn’t want to live together until we were married. The house completely needed redoing. This stressed me out and caused to be horrible.to her and the process of redoing the house was not fun and happy as it should be. Then in February 2015 I lost my job. Then the stress of the wedding, finding a new job and financial issues. She says she regrets being married and now wants a divorce. I am unsure how to move forward. I am in shock and disbelief. She doesn’t want to do therapy or giving each other space to build a relationship. I will miss her so much. I’m sorry if this post doesn’t make much sense this shock is still very raw.

    Reply
    1. Larry O'Connor, MFT Post author

      A,

      It sounds like you needed her there throughout. I don’t know if you felt the same about living together before marriage, but you bought the house with the two of you in mind, and i wonder if she contributed to planning and helping you go through the process. Typically, for men, marriage is about taking on responsibility, perhaps adulthood, of being in a place financially and emotionally to take that step. Losing your job prior could’ve been quite a blow, and a set back to feeling ready–especially with a home purchase and redoing. I’m sure you’re not perfect, but you made the effort/offer to find this out by going to therapy, but she didn’t take you up on this. It sounds like you’ve done a lot of work, but I wonder if you had the support, genuine buy-in, and the feeling she had your back.

      Larry

  6. Nsol

    Hi Larry,

    I am a 33 year old female who is trying to work out our differences so I can fall back in love with my husband of 12 years (through marriage cancelling). He is 40 and we have no kids (by choice).

    I am the instigator of the seperation and the one who is no longer I love with him. I should add he is very much in love with me. He’s very kind, hounest, and extremely intelligent how ever he also has been suspected to suffer from high functioning autism. He is very introverted and shays away from social engagements (be it small or big).

    As I mentioned earlier we have had 5 sessions of marriage cancelling which has not made my feeling come back. I am still committed to this relationship and want to get it back but I want to prepare for worst case.

    Given how rejected he feels whould he be able to cope and find it in himself to have a relationship after divorce?

    Many thanks,
    Nsol

    Reply
  7. Ira

    Hello Larry,

    I am reading the above and can very much relate to Sandra’s story… I’ve been dating a guy who is going through a divorce (his wife filed in June 2015) and these four month have been incredible; however, we weren’t able to spend much time together as he has his kids three weekends out of a month. I haven’t been introduced to the kids as it’s too soon.. so meeting during the week has been hard, but it worked. We met one another about 6 years ago while finishing up our undergrad degrees and kept in touch ever since via email as only friends.

    Lately he has been distant, especially with Thanksgiving and Christmas… he claims to be busy with work, and something has happened where he needed time to think (which I still don;t know what happened). He would go days without communication as he calls “silent treatments”. Last miscommunication we had is I uninvited him to an event as I didn’t hear from him for one week.

    He appeared back in my life after the holidays (one month later) and texted me that he admits he is a jackass and wants to make a personal connection; missed my company and he knows I am alone and knows I don’t want to be. So, we agreed to go out at a restaurant and talk. Long story short, he suggested for us to be friends. I was a bit shocked and asked him if this is why he invited me to the restaurant? He said yes, and I immediately got up and walked out (prior to our food being served). Since we drove together in his vehicle to the restaurant I couldn’t get in a car and drive… so ended up walking almost 7 miles home. He tried to chase me to offer me a ride home and even got a cab, but I was just too shocked, surprised and mad, and continued to walk… I said few things via text to him that I regret; he thinks I hate him now, which I don’t.

    I am simply confused. The thing is I truly like this guy. Why he appears in my life when he wants. Since I already “walked out” is it better to keep it this way? If he appears back in my life again – I feel like ignoring him, but at the same time I don’t want to lose him. I am not a light switch; I am not a piece of steel; I have feelings. I simply feel like he is not ready to move on.

    Thank you,

    Ira

    Reply
  8. Kimberley

    As I was reading this article everything u spoke on is in reverse for me. With one exception my son is his step son and he has stopped see him or talking to him all together. He’s been dad sense he was 2. It kills me that this has happen what do u suggest? They were tallking up til Christmas, but once the fact that he was dating already and we have been separated only 8 months he just stop communicatung with him.

    Reply
  9. Steve McFerrin

    Great article, I can relate to this on so many levels. Two years into my divorce, I have done a lot of work but still struggling with acceptance and moving on. Thanks for sharing this.

    Reply
  10. Scott shelton

    I’m dealing with jealousy. My ex is already dating and most likely having sex. In fact I think she was just prior to leaving me.I knew it was over then and she did too. I think she got a boyfriend and engaged in sex. Even if she didn’t, this is what is killing me. The thought she would get a boyfriend so fast. She denies it because I asked if she had one. She said no, but my mind goes into her being, Happy , having great sex and madly in love with this new guy. She added him to her facebook friend. So of corse I can see what he looks like and I become very jealous, sad and very depressed. I don’t know forsure about any of this and it shouldn’t matter, but why do I dwell on it. I every now and then look at his Facebook page and immediately I go into depression. I hate the fact that she moved on so fast and I’m still struggling to maintain. How do I stop this madness I have created. I even visualize them having sex and again immediate depression. I want this to stop. Please help me. The separation began 2 months ago, but like you said I’m sure she moved on a long time ago. I just want to move on but I keep thinking about her and him.

    Reply
  11. Michael

    Hi Larry
    Thank you for the information on your site I found it very interesting. I’ve been separated over 2years and divorced just over 3weeks ago.I live with my mother now after leaving a beautiful 6bedroom house I’d built and lived there over 25years with 3 children…I take responsibility for the breakdown of the marriage same old story money difficult to earn overweight and no time for hobbies just work and very sad and unhappy..love and attration gone and didn’t feel loved and after I serviced her car she had spin in it and lost trust in me.I did every thing wrong begging being needy eventually she started a relationship with a man a year ago, broke it off when the divorce came through and as just started seeing him again..The thing is now I’m more confident and don’t show her any feelings I’ve moved on and feel a measure of power with myself I continue to be respectful and generally kind to her but she still treats me with indifference and never gives me any thanks for my kindness.I find she does not think about my feelings with her boyfriend.she invites him round my house and with my kids there with no thought about me or my feelings.I try and show her I don’t care but deep inside I still love and miss her and find her behaviour very upsetting..could you recommend am I doing the right thing with my attitude. Her texts from one week to the other can be very unusual emotional with xx and others to the point and even rude..would like your opinion?

    Reply
  12. Matthew

    Hi Larry

    Thank you for a insightful article. I am not divorced (yet) but the writing is in the wall. We are in a very strained relationship, I work overseas and after 8 years we decided to move back to our homeland due to being unhappy in our host country. Financially we could not afford to pack and go so we made a mutual choice to get her and our son home and I would wrap up and earn enough for her to setup house. We agreed that two years was the limit and set a date for my return. I go home at least twice a year. Last year June after one visit everything changed. For the last 6 months she has been distant and cold with messages and phone calls without heart and love. I will admit I assumed I was not giving her the full attention due to commitments at work. In Novemebr on her birthday she told me she was unhappy with me and had it out. I usually react but this time I listened and agreed to do more. Since then I have been maybe too loving and in December, I gave it my all, romantic getaway, cooking cleaning pampering. The love making was not the same she was just not there, and she distant always walking in front of me never trying to take my hand. This month we have had it out I asked her what’s is going on and she said she does not think this is going to work. We are now on a break from our relationship. I sit in squalor as all our possessions are back with her and I was looking forward to going home on the date we set which is September.
    I am very lonely ( avoiding all temptations of doing something stupid) I have no goals as it looks really bleak that side.
    Very lost

    Reply
  13. Ghivette

    I have been dating a man since October. He filed for divorce in December 2014 but nothing had really happened with his divorce until November when I urged him to follow up on things. Come to find out, his attorney says it was put on hold for who knows what reason. Things are now in full swing and he has mediation on March 3, 2016.

    My concern has always been to try and emotionally support him, especially after having went through a divorce myself as well as helped many friends through theirs. He has mediation in a few weeks and is primarily focused on simply keeping the house and getting custody of his daughter. Currently his ex wife, step daughter and daughter live in the home. The daughter is 12. The step daughter is an adult.

    I keep trying to show him that he needs to really be prepared for the mediation. His ex can be very nasty but he needs to protect himself and look out for his future. Simply being concerned about the house and his child is rather ignorant, in my opinion because they have other property together as well as the house has been destroyed. I agree with him that the other stuff can be replaced so he simply wants to walk away from everything else. I’m urging him to fight for things, even if he doesn’t want or need them, as leverage. I’d like him to be as financially ahead when this is over with since it will be us who has to pay to get it back in a decent condition. Walking away from stuff he says he doesn’t want doesn’t help him financially and I’d like to use the proceeds to go against the equity he’ll have to pay her after the divorce. Any reduction in equity he pays can be used to restore the home to a decent condition again.

    Should I just let him do what he wants or encourage him to continue trying to walk away as even equitable as possible? I think he see’s that I’m being petty over furniture he doesn’t want but I know she’s a hoarder type and will settle financially to keep things she wants and he has no interest in. Basically, it leaves him some bargaining chips

    Reply
  14. Azza

    Very good. A few things are incorrect. I think you should look at some statements to clarify your position. I know you consider otherwise, however, your intention to write well could open you up to a lot of unwarranted ridicule. Generally however, you’ve done well. I’ll think about these human issues. cheers, Aaron.

    Reply
  15. Mel

    I have been married for 18 years and now my wife decides to leave me. This was devastating to me. She left got a boyfriend but we talk everyday. I just want my wife back. But don’t think it will happen. I just want comfort for myself. I don’t know what to do at this point. I know what the problem was I didn’t work for a while but just found a job. but i feel i found one to late. She is supportive in helping transition out of the relationship. Because she says she still loves me but as a friend not the love of a relationship. Yes we had other problems too. But when she got on her feet she left she didn’t work for years and finally got a job and a car and that was it for me, just need some insight on how to handle this situation. I feel like I am in a night mare and cant wake up.

    Reply
  16. mars

    hi larry
    wife of 20 years said she needed a break to see wether it was me making her unhappy and bored
    she moved out with my 18 year old while my old son stayed with me she has had issues with her family for the past ten years so i always thought they are the problem with her 3 months later still no better we giving it 12 months evry time we talk its about the kids not us she sayings it 99 percent over we to from here

    Reply
  17. MJSA

    Hi there
    My partner and i have been together for 15 years, and she has recently left me. Telling me one day and moving out to a new place a couple of days later. I could easily focus on the shock and not the issues – Whilst this is indeed a shock i am focussing on being strong in myself, and have not told everyone, but a few close friends and trusted people. I didn’t present the information to them , but considered what i wanted to say and then let it all out and told it how it was. I felt a real apprehension in doing so. i thought about it for two weeks and then told them – to get a better handle on myself, my emotions, and what it all meant. It has endorsed and enhanced ALL my friendships, taking each of them to a new found level – of intimacy, and authenticity.
    So far it has been six weeks and we have been seeing a relationship councellor. I have found some clarity in the past few weeks and whilst i remain in the vulnerable position of being hopeful to reconcile, i remain true to my feelings of what this all means. I accept my part in this separation, but reconciliation can only be true if both parties accept their differences and role and then want to better their offering to the other. So i wish to experience this as a potential Round 2 – and not a rejuvenation of Round 1. We can really only be better if we can put the past behind and both go for the Round 2. Anyway – this doesnt make it any easier. Fortunately i have hobbies, and some interests that take me away from the house – and our shared friends i have expressed i want them NOT to take sides but to be there and be respectful to each other. My male friends have been so excellent, checking in, and going out. We have had nights were it was never bought up, and excellent conversations flowed. Im quite proud of how it is going, but speed bumps do come and go. Thanks for writing an excellent article, i found it most useful, and identify with alot of what was said. Cheers

    Reply
  18. Elaine

    I have. Been married for 38. 1/2 years My husband has asked for a separation He has been having an affair for over a year with a coworker. He is president of a Union and she is his Vice President. This all started when he was staying away late at night from work. 5 Day conventions with her and the remainder of the Executive. He would get angry when I would ask where he was or when are you coming home. He decided a year ago that he wanted to sleep in the other room as I snored he said. He also has a drinking problem and I don’t drink at all. This women does and she is 15 years younger than him and she has been married x2. This is killing me knowing everything we worked so hard for is going to be gone. He just turned 60 We are in the process of going to a Mediator. He does not want to go to councilling We currently live in the same house He goes out from early morning and returns 10:30 to midnite. She lives about 1 hour away from our home. I need some advice on how to cope with this. It is like a death to me but he is still around. Mentally this is so very hard to deal with as he lies to our daughters where he has been. We have 2 grandchildren which he is not dealing with. He has hid his cell phone and password protected everything. Please give me some ways on how to cope with this.

    Reply
    1. Larry O'Connor, MFT Post author

      Elaine,
      There probably is no way to cope with this, except to take action, such as pursueing divorce and no longer living with your husband. He’s been able to have, perhaps, the best of both worlds, and unless he has a sudden moment of clarity or remorse, it doesn’t seem he is going to. You have children and grandchildren, and people around you for support and a role. I realize this isn’t the same as a marriage or a spouse, but it may help not to feel so stuck and made to be in such a hurtful position. You said he lies to his daughters, if so, don’t cover up for him, and do whast you can to separate from him so that he will have to take responsibility for himself and his actions.
      I’m sorry you’re having to go through this,

      Larry

  19. Ruth

    Hi Larry, my problem is that I have fallen in love with a married man who was my supervisor at work. All the time we were working together neither one of us realized that the other one was feeling love for the other. He has always been open about being married 24 years now, but he has since told me that it was in name only for the last 12. We have been meeting secretly 15 minutes or half an hour at a time, laughing, talking, kissing and hugging, but no sex-which is his idea-not mine. He says he wants to make sure that this love is real and that neither one of us gets hurt before he will go further. He now works road construction so can very rarely use his cell phone, but we have texted and called as much as we are able-5 and 6 times a day. He has consulted with an attorney about a divorce, but there are military pensions, property to be divided, and other financial accounts to juggle and move around in order to be fair to her, but not let her take everything. This will take some time, and since we live in Texas, a state in which there is no separation, until he is ready to divorce we have to stay under the radar. His wife has recently moved her nephew into their home, and he has gotten a job working alongside my boyfriend, which we feel his wife has done deliberately to keep an eye on him. Now we cannot even meet in person, and are reduced to texting. She does not work outside the home, and therefore monitors him 24/7. He and I have talked all along about having a future together, he is 55 and I am 58, so we feel we should grab our happiness while we can. The problem is in the last few days, he has suddenly become distant and is obviously backing away from me, only answering my texts in the most perfunctory way, and using no Terms of Endearment, and now for the last 2 days, no communication at all. I think he has too much to cope with emotionally and otherwise right now and I think I should just leave him alone and wait it out. But I would certainly appreciate your professional opinion. I do not think to confront him is the way to handle it. What do you think?
    Thanks.

    Reply
    1. Larry O'Connor, MFT Post author

      Ruth,

      He is married, living in another home and life. I realize he has a lot to lose, or at stake, but that is the price for straying, and making those choices are, perhaps, the price of admission to getting all the joy the two of you have left in life. It’s easy to rationalize waiting for the other when the other is married, and it’s an affair. You can get very caught up in their story, their circumstances and begin to confuse them for your own. You begin to work within the limits when, in reality, you don’t actually have any apart from him. You could call someone on the phone, visit them at their home, go on dates or whatever to see if the relationship is real–and this time in life is just as important for you to have joy. You asked whether you should confront him. I would suggest asking him what’s going on and where things stand. You might think of a time line that feels acceptable to you and see if he is willing to discuss a plan of action. If he does, Make sure he acts on it, that you can see that he is, and while he made need some time–a reasonable amount, that you begin to see and experience changes with him.

      Larry

  20. Sanjeev

    Hello Larry,

    I am going through a horrible divorce. It was an arranged marriage. I wanted an educated and career oriented wife who can contribute equally to both of our dreams.

    The girls family and the girl herself promised that she would focus on her career once married. After marriage all her promises fell apart. This lead to a lot of ugly fights between us though I always tried from my side to provide the best to her and persuade her to go for a career. It was more like I wanted her to be independent and standing on her own rather be a creeper on me for every little of her requirements. She never understood my feelings.
    I still love her but not ready to accept her with all the negative and lazy attitude towards life that she has.

    What should I do? I have never been dating women ans feel very left out, lonely and angry. A part of me still wants her back (along with our two year old son) but then part of me says kick her out of your life.

    It would be a big help if you email me your suggestion.

    Reply
  21. sad dad

    Hi Larry,

    My wife and i have sperated for a 2nd time and pretty sure she wants the divorce , she has said it outloud to me repeatedly.. We have always had a rocky relationship, she has always been tightly wound , and extremely controlling.. So there was always a power struggle between us, and a total lack of respect for any personal space…It triggered me to start having severe problems with alcohol… after the 1st separation we got back together and i was sober, and i stayed sober for close to 2 years.. During this time we had a beautiful little girl..Through the pregnancy i got to show her that i could be the man she always wanted, and we were best freinds again with a new future…. Then the baby was born… She ended up getting pretty severe psotpartum depression which then turned into postpartum psycosis..She dumped the baby on me pretty much full time an decided she wanted to smoke pot everyday, open her own business she always dreamed of having, and became a gym junky… meanwhile i am at home taking care of the baby all day and all night and still have the responsibilty of paying all the bills with limited time to work..I still kept quiet and supported her for the good of the marriage… Then i got fed up.. she pushed the baby into my arms one night with this look of terror and disgust on her face and it just broke my heart.. in that moment i felt “she doesnt deserve this little girl. or any more of my support ” and i broke my sobriety and started drinking again… things went downhill fast at that point.. I told her everything she was doing wrong, how i felt and for a month we argued badly at least twice a week… I had been sleeping in the guest room for over 3 months because she needed “beauty sleep” so i wouldn’t disturb her when the baby woke at night moved to the other room.. Things fiaky came to a head i flew into a drunken rage.. and we got physical for the 1st time in 10 yrs together.. she has been gone since.. fortunately i still have the baby most days since she is so caught up with her “business” and the gym , she doestn have enough time to take care of her… I know she sounds like a horrible person… but she isnt.. she was struggling with an illness.. but now im struggling with, what more could i have done? I thought i did enough? Im just confused and dont know what step to take next… i dont want to loose my marriage… but its not my choice…. there are so many unresolved issues ans i just want to be at piece…

    Reply
  22. Lynn

    Hi Larry,
    I have dated with my partner for 3 months, and i came to know that i got pregnant. So, that we got married after 3 months. It meant from the day we dated to marriage, it was 6 months. 3 months later, i gave birth to my daughter, and after 11 days, my husband left me and my daughter because that we argued with each other about my past – i was not virgin when i met my husband and have some exes. i have told him all about my past, but he blamed on me all the time about my past. But from the first day i met him, i do love and prove that he is the only one, i have nobody else. We separated from my daughter 11 days old till now , it is 18 months. He had contacted me many times to scold me about my past and dump me. And last 2 weeks, he contacted me ask to forgive him and he wanted to divorce in peace. We are international marriage, so i couldn’t meet him last 18 months, we are just contacted through message or email. I have message and tell him to forget , forgive for the agrue and come back to me and my daughter. But he told that he couldn’t go back. And i saw his post in his FB, a song and its for me . im still love him very much, and i have nobody than him. May you help me to tell me what should i do and does he still love me?

    Reply
    1. Larry O'Connor, MFT Post author

      Lynn,

      If he can’t accept your past, then he may have difficulty accepting you now or going forward. It sounds like you’re accepting his reactions as opions you need to suffer for. Is having exes, or not being a virgin worse than leaving a wife and daughter who is 11 days old? If, by posting a song on Facebook means he loves you, why can’t he just say it? Not saying it, puts you on the wrong side of balance, and while he may see this as you’re less important than he is–he needs to recognize what’s important to him and strive to realize this. You quite possibly would be helping him grow as a person, pointing out to him that if he genuinely loves you, he needs to admit it and treat you like he does.

      Larry

  23. john jiang

    Dear Dr Larry,

    After eight years’ marriage, my wife moved out suddenly two week ago who left a facebook msg to all my families that she wanted a divoice. I reacted the exact way you have described here. I tried to get her back by promising everything, I was grieving for the whole time, had problems to relax, to be confident, to work efficiently. Basically, I was shocked and don’t know what to do next.
    To add some sadness to my sorrow, she played two minds with me during the whole time. Sometimes, she acted nothing had happened and played joke with me like before. Other times, she was depressed and blamed me for everything. One time, she even wrote five questions on Facebook asking me to answer yes or no. She said if I got wrong answers, she will permanently be gone forgetting she did ask for a divoice.
    After a while, I had enough of this type of conversations and asked her to stop contacting me until she figures out what exactly she wants.
    I was trying to move on with my life. I even tried to clean up the house we recently purchased. I said to myself I need to accept the fact that I may have a life without her from now on although it wasn’t easy as it might sound. I cried publicly on the train when I received her message saying she still loves me . I know I still deeply love her. But I am not sure this is what she wants anymore.
    I am person who can be very determined and dominated in a relationship. Anything I don’t see as a norm or unreasonable, I would be upset and angry. Therefore, my wife sees it as ultimately unacceptable fact in our relationship. She wanted to be valued, to be respected and to be recognised if she did something she was proud of. I can understand that.
    As you can see, this is exactly what is our problem. To me, if I decide to divoice, I will do it without any backwards thought. I will try to do it quickly and as less painfully as possible. Never would I have two minds in the middle of a separation. It just does not help anyone. If I want to reconcile, I would say it loud and clear that I was not happy and what I expect from a marriage before I want a divoice to end it. This at least gives a chance to my partner to think and possibly change behaviour. If that does not work out, I will leave without any regrets. I am now on the brink of forcing the divoice to go through. I just can’t have two minds and not move on.
    Her mother, obviously did not like me and that might put a lot of press on her to come back.

    Your…

    Reply
  24. K

    Hi Larry,

    My wife has recently told me that she doesn’t love me anymore,and she can’t remember ever really loving me as a wife should love her husband.We have been together for 13 years and married for 6 years ,and have 2 fantastic kids.We have now since seperated through obviously her choice not mine,and my whole world has come crashing down around me.I knew over the years our marriage faced problems,but I didn’t think anymore than ups and downs of any other relationship faces .She said she only stayed with me for the sake of the children ,but she can’t do that anymore.How could she of ever married me if she has never loved me like she says.I am hurt confused and totally shocked she feels this way.She is so cold and emotionless about the whole situation when I try to discuss the situation ,which then makes me angry and hurt.

    Reply
  25. james barrry

    Hey Larry my wife left me and filed for divorce. We have adult children and were married over 30 years. I was told by counseling that she did not love me, thought our marriage was boring and was not attracted to me. I am retired and have a good pension. She is college educated. I paid for this. She has a great job. She put me through hell for 10 years before leaving. My question is she wants no contact with me at all. She won’t even return a call. Why does she have so much hate toward me.

    Reply
  26. Mandy

    Hi Larry,

    I’ve been going out with a separated man for 12 months (he was separated 3 years prior to meeting me). While we were dating, his divorce proceedings began and things have become very ugly between and his ex-wife. This has caused enormous stress in his life and he became emotionally distant from me during the process, to the point he said he couldn’t put the effort into our relationship any more. We have stayed friends, but of course I want more! Having said that, I am keeping my distance and being very independent from him.

    Should I distance myself further, cutting off communication and allowing him space to deal with an even worsening divorce? And do you think there’s ever potential that we he may resurrect our relationship once his divorced is finalised (and if I’m still available)?

    Reply
  27. danielle

    Hi. I met this guy by accident( I was looking for a place to rent,he called me saying he has a 3 bedroom flat he is staying in at the moment.)I went to see the flat, we talked and we saw each other the second day in the same flat.I slept over as I was a bit drunk..Not with him,in a separate bedroom.I didn’t take the room( too far from everything),he moved back home( he and his wife were having trouble in their marriage).We didn’t talk much after that.Then,we started talking on fb.He then, helped me move where I live now.We started seeing each other almost every day at my place( the wife was still there along with his young children).Everytime he had a fight with her,I’d comfort him, be on his side,etc. I admit, I fell in love with him the second time we saw each other,although I knew he’s confused and hurt .He and his wife got a divorce on 9th of March( we met in January)…We did have a sexual relationship prior to his divorce and continued for a while after the divorce was finalized.I was frustrated that he’d act hot and cold and he said he needs time to figure things out.We didn’t see each other much,I’d still call him sometimes to see if he’s ok, he’d help me with some stuff around the house,but he was always uptight.Recently we had a big fight over his behaviour,I said some mean things to him and then apologised.We don’t talk anymore. He says I didn’t understand his need of space.( he and his wife got a divorce because she found someone new and she’d tell him he needs to change,etc).He is a warm, intelligent,fun, confident man.I really love him,but I think I screw everything up.What should I do?

    Reply
    1. Larry O'Connor, MFT Post author

      Danielle,

      It sounds like a case of bad timing. It’s difficult to have an actual relationship–one that can accurately be accessed when one of the people are married. Whether it’s the unmarried person’s needs or expectations, these can’t easily, or practically met, due to circumstances. While this is a problem, it is complicated by a context that also excuses it. “They would, if they could, but the can’t right now.” This puts off testing whether needs get met, even though the needs begin to mount. The married person is stuck between a spouse they potentially have to hurt, and a lover they are hurting unintentionally, but in many ways responsible for do so. If they do finally divorce, they have a lot of work untangling a marriage, at the same time have to face addressing the mounting needs of the lovers, and the responsibilities of any hurts. But where previously they had been avoiding the marriage, with the affair, now they’ve addressed the marriage, but need to heal from the marriage, especially with wife finding someone else, but don’t have the energy to deal with the affair. I guess, for a married person, having an affair presents many things: escape, deferred maintenance, deferred ending, and deferred feelings of loss. Big stuff, but should this outweigh your stuff? I can say, no, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t. Push him though, and you risk him resenting you later, but making you wait, he either risks your resenting him, or just resentimg him more.
      Focus on your life, perhaps you were just trying to have a relationship in the wake of two other’s screw up.

      Larry

  28. Joy

    I have been casually dating a divorced man on and off for 9 months. He has custody of 2 children and seems to still be emotionally hurt over her walking out after 40 years. I really like him but sometimes there is no communication from him. He states it’s not me, he is depressed. Now recently seeing a therapist. I need advice should I continue as I am recently widowed of 2 years myself.

    Reply
  29. Ben

    Hello, is good I inform all the men and guys out there, that sometime we all make mistakes in our relationship and made our relationship to be broken and is also our responsibility to make it work by seeking for solution to it, I’m very happy today to tell you little of my relationship problem, i cheated once on my wife and she caught me and she was ready to end our marriage because i truly love her i quickly seek for solution to stop her that is when i came across Dr.Ekpen temple who has help so many people restore their broken marriage and relationship i also contact him today my marriage is restored, I’m going to drop his contact so that does having the same issues can contact him for solution on (ekpentemple @ gmail . com).

    Reply
    1. Larry O'Connor, MFT Post author

      Hi Ben,
      I’ve asked in the past for people of ekpentemple to kindly not email. Once again, I don’t want to be rude–nor turn this “forum” into something like that. I’m glad you’ve found a source of help and that it seems to be working for you. However, given the nature of this site, that I’m a psychotherapist, not a “healer,” casting spells, or offering magic, but offering some counseling-based suggestions to people who are struggling to make sense of some very difficult, very real circumstances, and not seeking spells, or super natural fixes. Posting you testimony for them is potentially mocking or invalidating them and their experience.
      So, as yet another kind reminder, please ask your fellow temple member, or patients of Dr.Blessing, or ekpentemple, to stop posting here.

      Thank you,

      Larry

  30. Valde

    I was with my ex for 7 years, and married for less then one year. I met her when I was 16 and she was 15. She was the only relationship I ever had. While we were married she met someone online and began having an online relationship. Sending explicit pictures and videos. He lives in England and we are from Texas. I found out and did not react well. She ended up wanting a divorce and I did everything I could to try and repair our marriage. My last attempt was in Nov 2015. I haven’t spoken to her since she moved away. I recently found out that she is in a long distance relationship with the guy she cheated on me with. It’s been nearly a year and I am still hurting from this whole situation. It wasn’t as bad as it could have been and I feel like I should have moved on by now. I dont want to be with her again. I couldnt trust her even if she did want to come back into my life. I just miss her so damn much, I still think about her everyday. I do a lot, I casually date, work out, and get out of my comfort zone. I feel like I should be past this already.

    Reply
  31. Alexander

    Hi Larry,
    Your article makes interesting reading & has helped me understand some of the behaviour of my estranged husband. We have been separated 18 months and he immediately moved in with the woman he had been seeing on leaving the family home, and her children. However he is dragging his feet on the divorce, I have pushed forwards with the paperwork, the arrangements for our children, etc. I can’t understand why he doesn’t seem to want to get divorced, since our marriage is irrevocably over and I have now come to terms with that after much therapy (I would have taken him back even 6 months after we separated). He won’t sign the paperwork and I seem to have no way to make him agree to divorce.

    I have met someone and want to move forwards with my life, but while I remain married against my will with the divorce not finalised, it’s like I live under a shadow.
    I would welcome your thoughts.

    Reply
  32. Vinita

    I have been married two decades. An achiever myself, helped my partner with his every difficulty in career. First business. Then education abroad. His career has still not taken off. He has become resentful. He refuses to contribute his time/ effort though financially he still cant support and I don’t need his support, I am independent myself. Earning more than him. I have for long supported him both financially and emotionally. Now I have reached my peak and I don’t wish to be hurt any more. His struggle has killed our social life, distanced our friends. our sexual life is gone. There is no intimacy. His own family has become fractured. I feel I would save myself if I distance myself from him. I don’t wish to be part of his struggle any more. But now I feel very lonely and unable to decide what’s best. Should I separate of continue giving our marriage a chance that things may improve in future?

    Reply
  33. Allen m

    My wife and I have been separated now for almost a year we are going through a divorce now as we speak actually we have mediation May 3rd. I can’t believe how things ended honestly. I felt she was my soulmate, after I returned back home from Afghanistan we had a bump in the road but pulled through it. I asked her to marry me and she agreed I was so happy she said yes. Well fast forward a few years we built a house away from all our family and found out we were having a little boy. Well this was wonderful news to receive but the week before she told me she pregnant her and I were about break up and go our separate ways. We constantly argued about everything bills, duties around the house, jobs, education, even family. Her and I drifted so far apart we didn’t even know if we were ever really in love. We tried counseling but she did not give it her all she just wanted to say nothing was wrong and we leave. Eventually the time came where I picked up every book about marriage and the struggles but my wife at the time told me I was wasting my time and that this is how we are babe we argue and then we make up and everything is fine. Well that was not the case we often had nights where my wife and I would fight and of course my smart mouth would get me in trouble and get her pissed to the point she started getting violent. Hitting and punching me in the face. Many nights I slept in our spare room out of pure anger. Anyways I’m not perfect I did things said things and acted in ways that would make a wife question her husband but the one thing I never would of done is left her side. I found out one month before my our sons bday she was leaving me it crushed me my family was gone just like that. 1 month after his bday she moved our son and her stuff into the mans house she left me for and our house was foreclosed on 4 months later. I tried everything to save our home and marriage but I failed and she told me a few months later that she never loved me because of the way she could treat me. So now I sit here more lost and scared then I ever have knowing I have to sign papers for the dissolution of our marriage.

    Reply
  34. Sean

    Hi Larry,
    My wife has decided that after 12 years of marriage and 2 kids that she no longer wants to be married. She said she needs to find who she really is. I have been the sole provider for the family and she has always been a stay at home mom, with a few part time jobs here and there. We both grew up in Nebraska but recently moved to Texas, I think this was the downfall. She is a very family oriented person with a rather large family not so much immediate family but tons of cousins, aunts and uncles. I was in complete shock when the conversation came up about separation, as I thought I lives had been drastically better in the last say…3 years. She plans to move back to nebraska for the summer with the kids and highly unlikely she will return. I loved every bit of your story but I cant see much good coming from a divorce, I will seldom see my kids or my best friend (wife). All our discussions about divorce have been quite friendly we even went as far as doing our own mediation on a notepad. No one has filled for divorce and neither of us have spoke to a lawyer but decided to wait till the end of the summer. Im curious what are the chances that she would ever come back to me? I asked if she wanted to try counseling but she didn’t, she just stated she wants to be single and happy. She has changed alot over the past few months but nothing more then I ever wanted her to be, she go’s out and lets her hair down, she doesn’t worry near as much about little things, laughs. She has lost a lot of weight and looks amazing. I continue to ask her to do things together or as a family but she often refuses to.
    I don’t know what to do while we are still living together (for about another month) and what to do over the summer. She wants space but is too much space just helping her forget about me? I have no interest in dating during the summer and pray she has a change of heart but what used to feel like a 50/50 chance now seems more like 99/1 that she will return.

    Reply
  35. Rich

    Hi Larry,
    I really enjoyed reading your article. I was happily married for almost 12 years and with my soon to be ex wife for a total of 17 years when I discovered an emotional affair back in August 2014. This set off a very bad year between the two of us where I found out about another affair in April 2015. At that point we decided to separate and I got my wife an apartment. Shortly afterwards, she filed for divorce. I am now almost a year into separation and feel pretty good. I have gotten myself in shape, still go to counseling every other week, met a wonderful woman through a divorce support group after I dated a couple before her, and now just finally sold our marital home (close in two weeks) which is going to substantially reduce the financial stress on my end as I will be paying support to my wife. The problem I have is this: With the selling of the home, a lot of memories are coming back as we have three kids (50/50) custody. I can’t tell if these feelings are me wanting to be back with my wife, or just feelings of that chapter in my life coming to an end. My wife’s GF is also very sick and about to pass and he is a great man. I want to travel to see him with the kids to pay my respects, however she has turned her family against me pretty bad, which is surprising because she wanted out and had the affairs. I was trying to fix everything and in the end I couldn’t do it. I know deep down that I probably would never be able to trust her again so I can’t understand why I would ever consider wanting her back. She feels the divorce is still the best course of action, and I feel it is as well. I guess overall, I just want my friend back in my life, however she claims she can not be my friend at this point. We were great together for a long time so this all came as a major shock. Our communication is good, however it is strictly business for the most part as that is all she wants. She did stress her negative opinions about my relationship, however it’s funny as she is now on her third guy since the separation. She also stressed her dissatisfaction of me introducing my GF’s kids to my kids and spending time together, and now she has done the same which just so happened to coincide while my GF and I were on a weekend getaway to Mexico. Is this jealously on her part or does she possibly want me back, or possibly not want me to be happier than her. Thanks.

    Reply
  36. steve Cox

    Hi Larry. I found your writings to be insightful.
    I have experienced many of the feelings, and actions, resulting from my wife leaving me.
    We have been together 11 yrs. When i met her I was finalizing a divorce from my first wife. My first wife and i had 3 children together. She had 5 from her previous relationships. 2 dads for her kids. 8 yrs ago we had a son together. Now after working 2 jobs most of the time to support this combined family and pay child support for my 3.
    Nothing has been easy. Currently we had only her youngest daughter and our son left in the home. She hasnt been happy for a long time. I cause her to get angry when i gamble or disagree with anyrhing ahe says. She CAN NOT communicate with anyone who doesnt agree with whatever she is saying. She refused to allow me to finish a thought or a comment without verbally screaming her side causing her daughter to frquently come and yell at me to stop. Often times i walked to a corner of the room and faced the wall with my hands visible. And IM THE BAD guy in her eyes. Worse she involves the kids by screaming and putting on a show to have them cling to her. She left 3 times for short periods since we got married 2 yrs ago. I told her regardless of the reason if she left again i was done. She did a week later. She moved in with her older kids and i prepared to move out of the house. I started to recover from it and move on some. Meeting new people being positive and rising out of the hole she made me cljmb in. Now because she isnt doing as well she has started showing more willingness to work on us. But now im in the middle. Happy with my new relationships but torn to save it. Whats ur advise?
    Thankyou

    Reply
    1. Larry O'Connor, MFT Post author

      Steve,

      Sorry for the delayed response–there’s been a lot of comments to keep up with. It sounds like your situation was quite miserable, and reading it, I wondered how much the gambling had to do with your wife’s anger. Perhaps. But after reading how quickly and naturally you began to move on once she left, I thought it sounded like you were doing quite well. If she isn’t aware of the way she’d been acting, willing to change, and recognize either how much she needs you, or appreciates you, I think you answered your own advise.

      Larry

  37. Karl

    Spot on Sir :)
    I’m from a Scandinavian country and have spent more time with my children and had the same income as my wife. But apart from that, my situation is basically as you describe. I initially wanted to fix the marriage, when she dropped the bomb, with counseling and so on, but my wife had already left it mentally. Not that i know exactly how it was going to get fixed but given the consequences for everyone (at least for me and the children) i thought that it was the most rational and right thing to do.

    One year later, we now have the children one week each and do some trips and holidays together, which is good in a way, to have things to do and spend time together with the children. But it probably won’t work in the long run, when one of us meets someone new. I for one do not want to sit around looking at her and a new man on christmas and so on. And it is probably making the process longer for me to meet a new partner. I also feel that it is a bit awkward to spend time together as i’m getting used to not living together.

    Anyway, the long time strategy is to “get my shit together” more, better physical form, improve my home, add some social elements and at least get some good pics of myself for an online dating profile. It just feel like it will take some time to get through this. Short term, i have accepted that i am f#cked and take one week at a time. Doing what small things i can to follow the long term strategy.

    Thanks for a great post!

    Reply
  38. Andrew Denton

    Hi Larry

    I have been separated from my wife for 4 months now. She has filed for divorce and we have 2 girls and jointly have a mortgage which I am contributing to. She thinks I have turned a corner and am a better person and even likes me but I screwed up recently by going into the family home without her knowing and now she has backed off again. I am experiencing everything you mentioned in the article. I try and spend time with ber and the kids as I have nothing else to do. My role was to be a husband and father and now I feel lost. I hope to reconsile as we were very close as a family but feel in limbo as to what to do with my time at weekends if I don’t see the kids and I can only impose myself on family and friends for so long. My wife has the idea that we will co parent as separated but still rely on each other…sounds good in principle but feels like a prison sentence as I want to be intimate with a woman be it my wife, prefably, or someone new. What can I do to make life more fulfilling and how can I reconcile if at all with a woman who only really wants me as a friend?

    Reply
    1. Larry O'Connor, MFT Post author

      Andrew,

      You said it sounds good in principal. Maybe it is, and can be. It sounds like the things you could or “should” be doing, being separated, might be the same things you can do to make things better. You expressed a lot of not knowing what to do with yourself, so the default is to “impose” yourself on the family, as with friends. Maybe branch out a bit–reach out to male or potentail male friends, or even go out to a movie alone. Try to rely less on her. In other words, consider the concept of supply and demand–when supplies are less, the demand is more. It sounds like she still needs you and relys on you, and while you provide this, a need you’ve had goes unmet. I’m not saying you demand intimacy for being present, but she may not recognize how key you are to her life, if you’re so in her life–or worse, in it because it could seem you have nothing better to do. If you’re going to burn time until she finally lays the hammer down, maybe instead, set that time aside (like a few months), and foucs on things you can do to engage yourself apart from her–not immediately go to a new partner, or the idea of it.

      Larry

  39. Penelope

    Hi Larry,

    I read your article to better understand the man I love.

    He’s first and foremost a very close friend but I love him dearly and he’s going through the whole separation/divorce process at the moment.

    Just want to say thank you for the insight.

    Reply
  40. Furious

    Larry – I was dating a man for just shy of a year. He was going through a divorce the entire time, as he’d only been separated a few months when we met. It was also a long distance relationship (we lived 5 hours apart) which worked for both of us since he wasn’t looking for anything serious, and I had just been promoted at my job and focused more on that than a man. I never expected it to last long, but we got along so well and had such great chemistry that it just effortlessly continued. We didn’t talk a lot about where it was going; we just enjoyed our time together and talking when we were apart. Unfortunately, I fell in love with him. I always felt like he really cared for me, but I don’t think it was love for him. As Christmas neared, he seemed to be a bit depressed and worried more about how the split was affecting his 3 children. Any time I asked him about us or what was going on with him, he would just say he didn’t want to talk about it. He claimed to still want to continue our relationship, after I told him that we could end it or take a break if it was too much for him. But then the calls became less frequent, he wouldn’t commit to our next meeting and his attitude toward me overall just became colder…like an acquaintance instead of a lover. I left him alone during the weeks leading up to Christmas and he never bothered reaching out. I only sent him a merry Christmas text, to which he responded “same to you.” I never heard from him on New Year’s Eve, so I called him a few days later. He didn’t answer so I left a message to say that I missed him and wanted to know what was going on. Again, I said if he wanted to end it, he needed to tell me. He texted me back instead of calling, saying he was with his kids so he couldn’t talk but wanted to answer me. His answer didn’t clear up much – just a bunch of stuff about how he’d just been focusing on his kids but that he really wanted to talk to me and would call me soon. I never heard from him again. After about a month of no contact, I tried texting to say I would’ve understood if this was too much for him now, bit after a year I would expect more a more respectful exit than just pretending I don’t exist, and that it was extremely hurtful. No response. I get that maybe I never should’ve gotten involved with this man, but is this type of cowardly behavior normal?? Why would he make me think he wanted to continue things just to end in such a cruel and immature way ?

    Reply
  41. gavin smith

    Wow! Larry!
    Your writing is great and the information astounding, thank you so much! I am on my 3rd year of going through my d-transformation, maybe if i had found you sooner i might be further along but oh well. I admit i have not read all of the above, but i will. My situation is a little less common perhaps, I will be turning 60 this year and was married to my ex wife 20 years, we have 2 sons 18 & 9. I cook, have a cleaning service that makes 90 percent of the income, have split custody, love my sons immensely and oh wow ha ha,, do play in a garage band! There’s more but question for you is, yes i do understand what applies to me in your writing, i guess its feeling my life ebbing from within and without. Ageing and nurturing my children makes me feel like my life is ending and that old adage of ‘starting over’ seems like it has a dead battery. How do i change this? Is it just more time? i read about being social and i see that i have not been for a long time, after being so for a long time, at parties i feel a great loneliness from others because of my age difference. i did recently go on a date, this brought much information and has helped me enjoy my own growth, but i struggle to sustain a good vibe. I pay substantial alimony and child support this keeps me from adding any retirement to my future. Thank you so much, you write very well and i am relating so its already given me inspiration. Gavin

    Reply
  42. Dan Alexander

    Hey Larry, great article, and right on point. I was married 11 years and have 3 young children (ages 8, 6, and 3). My ex and I separated last June and the divorce should be final within weeks. It has been a roller coaster of emotions to say the least, but now my ex has the person she cheated on me with involved in my kids live. Pretty intense…the hits keep coming…any advice on how to cope with this?

    Reply
    1. Larry O'Connor, MFT Post author

      Dan,

      Sorry for the delayed response. I’m sorry you’ve had to go through such a (fill in the blank)___________ situation. My advice, if any, is to pour your focus on your kids, building your own life, or career. With your kids though, do things that will have lasting impressions and create memories. Spend time with them doing quiet activities, like arts and crafts around the kitchen table, so you have you’re own special family time. This is also an opportunity to talk about things, and get them to know their father. Whether or not this other guy is involved with the kids to any real degree, focusing on your kids, letting them get to know you better, may help you feel less threatened, concerned or even competitive (if you do) and lessen the roller coaster ride a bot for yourself.

      Larry

  43. Raymond

    Hi Larry:

    I caught my soon to be ex wife in an emotional affair with a serial home wrecker, last August, after several attempts to end it and seeking counseling separately, our 18 year marriage ended on April 14th this year. My ex suffers from turning 50, being OCD(dentist), a shopping addiction, and narcissistic behavior. She had become increasingly self centred and fixated on her physical appearance in the last couple of years. My 16 year old daughter pointed that out when we were looking at pictures of all the trips we had taken over the years the other night. My ex has already run to the guy she had the affair with, acting like an 18 year old. I have filed for divorce, and my daughter has stated she is moving in with me,( they had a major blowout over this guy). I want a clean break from the ex, I told her in no uncertain terms, make me cross a bridge, I blow it up. No reconciliation ever, no contact, my goal is total indifference to her. Right now I am “riding the waves” and they seem to be getting smaller. I will speak to her about the kids, ( 12 year old son also) and their interests but I want a strict no contact rule personally. We have shared custody, and we are unwinding our business relationship and personal relationship, it is tense but I think I will be fine. I have adopted an open book relationship with my kids, I have met a couple of women for coffee, I have told them about, they know I am not ready to date yet. I am also still seeing my psychologist, and reaching out to friends again and my family has been great. I worry that the damage my ex is doing to my daughter is the lasting legacy of this divorce. To me she is acting like a teenager, running around town, dressing provocatively, arm in arm with this guy not weeks after leaving a marriage. She is a professional and we live in a town of 40,000. I mean everything is getting back to my daughter and I . It is just fueling my daughter’s rage and anger, and destroying any relationship future they may have. As for me it is putting me in a good light, I am the faithful husband who was jilted in this whole fiasco. Upon reflecting about our marriage, I have realized that though my heart was committed to her and covered up the changes occurring in her, my brain was making preparations for leaving and I find myself a lot more prepared and at peace with the ” I love you, but I am not in love with you” line I got that day in April.

    Reply
    1. Larry O'Connor, MFT Post author

      Hi Raymond,

      It sounds like you are doing quite well with this. Given what you’ve been through, and, unfortunatley continue to go through with your wife’s behavior, I think a no contact rule is best for yourself. I appreciate too that her bahvior puts you in a good light. Sometimes I think that’s the game switcher with divorce–fighting back by being good, above reproach. I would though consider your kids and, though as well, hating saying this, their relationship with their mother. I know your daughter is upset with her (and understandably), but be careful not to “count” on this, or rely she will always feel this way. Maybe make some room for this down the line. And you’re son, who’s only 12. You said you are talking with your ex, but only for the kids. I get this, but they might not. You’re lack of relationship with your ex might have effects on them or place them in binds in the future. I guess, distance her all you want, but have a flexibility you can pull out should they need one. Understand, if it weren’t for kids with anyone else in your situation I’d say, “Change the locks and move on,” but kids make us have to stretch–though sometimes in ways, if we play it right, that our having been put in a good light shines all the more.

      Larry

  44. Elizbeth Gibson

    This is the first time to use the service of robinson.buckler@yahoo. com and even if I was a bit skeptical at first, I highly recommend his service to people who need an extra help. It felt good to have my lover back. i never crossed my arms waiting for him to come on his own

    Reply
  45. kate

    I got married three years ago, and then it was sweet’ in the beginning after a year and few months I gave birth to a male child. at that moment I started facing spiritual falsies in my life, along the process automatically my husband changed his attitude coming home lately and all sort of meaningless things, After a while he said he can’t live under the same roof with me and he left the home. my life was in hell starting from the day my man left home he stopped picking my calls he blocked me on his Facebook account, And i had no other option than to seek for spiritual assistance because sometimes i use to watched some magical things on movies. Finally i found a restoration centre were I seek for help! After getting to one week, I seek help! from restoration home my husband found way back home peacefully. I’m so much grateful everything has finally settled. i sheared my testimony to everyone need assistance to restore marriage’ here is Dr obodu email..

    Reply
    1. Larry O'Connor, MFT Post author

      Realize that becauase I appreciate your desire to endorse these people, I would like to return the gesture, and endorse Dr. Dre, Jimi Hendrix, Eminem, Wes Anderson, Thad, Rollo May, Eric Fromm, Jay-Z, Peter Townshend, Don DeLillo, Dr. Humbert H. Humbert, Mac Dre, and especially David Snarch, as spiritual guides for relationships. Like all of use I have had my share of emotional difficulties in relationships, but have found clarity and happiness through their teachings.
      However, I’ve asked in the past for people to kindly not email endorcements for spiritual leaders or organizations as such. As always, I don’t want to be rude–nor turn this “forum” into something like that. I’m glad you’ve found a source of help and that it seems to be working for you. However, given the nature of this site, that I’m a psychotherapist, not a “healer,” casting spells, or offering magic, but offering some counseling-based suggestions to people who are struggling to make sense of some very difficult, very real circumstances, and not seeking spells, or super natural fixes. Posting you testimony for them is potentially mocking or invalidating them and their experience.
      So, as yet another kind reminder, please ask your fellow temple member, or patients of Dr.Blessing, ekpentemple, and now obodur restoration centre, to stop posting here.

      Thank you,

      Larry

  46. Daniel Martine

    Hello Larry,

    I recently separated from my wife after 22 years of marriage because I discovered, or accepted that I am homosexual. Aside from all the emotional trauma and psychological barriers you describe in your article I also have to deal with the stigma of homosexuality in a straight men dominated field, which add an extra layer of complexity to my situation. As you described it, I have found myself in unfamiliar terretory. I feel insecure, unsure, alone, etc. Socializing is difficult, and building a meaningful life seems daunting at this point, but I look back and I think that still with these feelings, I’m in a better place than I was a year ago. Maintaining an acceptable relationship with my wife has been almost impossible. One of the big issues my (still wife) and I have not been able to get past, is the perception she has that our marriage was nothing but a farce I put on in order to escape facing my reality and dealing with my homosexuality before we got married. She feels used, understandably. She thinks thay my leaving the marriage was cowardly on my part and the best solution would have been to stay together and deal with my homosexuality together, like the married couple that we are. That would have certainly been an option, but aside from my homosexuality, I also think that I don’t love her anymore and do not see the point of staying in a marriage when there is no love. My question to you is how can I get through to that I loved her at one point in our relationship. She was the most important person in my life for a period of time, but she does not believe me and because she thinks I used her, she hates me and does everything she can to make my life miserable. I do not understand how can someone would rather stay in a dysfunctional marriage rather than move on. She does not believe in therapy, so talking to her is very difficult.

    Thank you.

    Reply
    1. Larry O'Connor, MFT Post author

      Daniel,

      Thanks for sharing this. It’s definitely a twist on the divorce story I typically received. But it also has a commonality, which is the discovery at some point during any marriage one isn’t be true to themselves, or the marriage isn’t meeting their needs. Common too, is that when a marriage ends, and one spouse goes in any direction more suited to, or better for them, the other spouse can often feel that the marriage didn’t have any meaning, or wasn’t real. With the men I’ve worked with going through divorce, they often describe their wife’s feelings suddenly shutting off like a light switch. They rarely see this as a way of protecting herself, of not falling back into the relationship, of self preservation, but they take it as if it were a pronouncement of them, an erasing of the relationship. I imagine your wife didn’t want the marriage to end, doesn’t still, and is trying to find the falseness of your reasons, in order to get it back, get you back. She isn’t recognizing what effort or sacrifice you put into the marriage, and that in the end, you suffered as big a loss as she did. I think what you wrote here, is wonderful and maybe that’s what you offer her, being aware that she may not be able to accept it as enough, or see it only through her lens. What you’ve done and are doing takes a lot of personal courage and great integrity–greater after so long, and more difficulty.

      Larry

  47. Steve Burt

    Hi Larry,

    I just wanted to say thank you for what can only be described as some of the best literature on the web..

    I am now 5 months into my separation, and regardless of who initiated it, your article has been a real blessing to read I have now been through this 4 times already, and will keep referring back to it as the need arises.

    I am beginning to find that the initial shock is now almost gone, the loss will be there for sometime yet but it is manageable… But I have come through it, and learning new relationships with my children, and my wife.

    None of this is Ideal, but if you could wave you magic wand and turn back time, I would say sorry i would rather you didn’t.

    Sometime we must go through these trials and in doing so learn about ourselves, I am seeing pockets of Joy with new friendships, yes even female friendship only nothing else..

    I am learning what I like, and I am learning how to be happy in myself, all through my childhood years and early adult I was at war with myself…until I discovered peace, but it took some years for that peace to mature in me…

    I am 18 months teetotal, and I am or have learnt to remove many plasters addictions from my life.. There are one or two high towers that still need to be pulled down, which I am seeking council from the ultimate physician… 😉

    One is certainly not through the woods yet, but I have taken you scribblings and insight to heart, and combined with my spiritual life, this so helpful if I haven’t mentioned it already

    What made me laugh so much was your paragraph beginning “Humorously speaking, all of this is nothing short of a perfectly engineered cluster fuck to the male psychology” you had me in stitches..

    I have learnt to laugh about my situation…

    I am in a new relationship, actually its an old relationship, i discovered very simply my younger self… who was a little bit battered and bruised… Since then we have started to spend time together, he has got me to audition for a Christmas pantomime, which happens to be this Monday night…

    I often go to bed with my teddy bear, affectionally know as “Ted” I am 43 year old man 6ft 3 inches tall.. But do I care about sleeping with my bear, not a jot!!!

    So in summing up I will overcome, I am not innocent in all of this, I have made mistakes, but one thing I will do is learn from them forget the past and move on into the future…

    Wishing you all the very best

    Steve

    Reply
    1. Larry O'Connor, MFT Post author

      Steve,

      Sorry for the delayed response. Well, and “Humorously speaking:” No fair! you’re way to healthy! I’m sure there are many divorced men who would read your comments and hate or dismiss them–but what you’re finding, and have found, are the object of the whole exercise. It’s like an old Buddhist adage (at least I think it’s Buddhist): “This being the case, how shall I proceed?” So much of the struggle with divorce is acceptance, but I guess that’s the foundation on which getting over it is built.

      Thanks, Steve,

      Larry

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All responses, though professionally based, are intended as opinions, and are not a substitute for working with a therapist professionally.