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Naturelover's picture

My husband told me today that he is going to divorce me. With everything going on right now, it is not possible to move on it so we will co-habitate. I am struggling so much  - I love my husband dearly and want to spend the rest of my life with him. At the beginning of our relationship, we went through a lot of bull**** with my family (parents, siblings). They don't like him, didn't accept him and pretty much cut me out of their lives. They were extremely toxic. This is still an area of contention for him as I have re-established a relationship with my parents but it doesn't involve him or his kids. It also took me way too long to address things - I mean, it was pretty horrible all the things they did and I was so ineffective dealing with it.

Now, its the kids, specifically my 16 year old daughter. She is very introverted, doesn't talk to most of us and makes my husband and step daughter feel ill at ease. My husband says he is tired of feeling un welcome in his own home. My daughter is very socially awkward but yet again, I have failed to really address this. Now my younger daughter is starting to model.

So, now my husband says he does not see this going anywhere but divorce. He doesnt respect me and resents me right now. I need to fix this, he is my best friend and I love him dearly. HELP!!!


HMSUKAUS's picture

There is just too much water under the bridge.
I feel like this may be just to far gone, Men ponder these decisions for a long time and if hes approached the idea of divorce id argue its gone to far to save.
The foundations of this relationship from what youve mentioned dont seem to be very strong and too much time and drama has happened to address that.
If i have learnt anything from failed relationships, there is no amount of begging and pleading that will save this marriage.

Hold your head up high, take your girls and let him go. If he doesnt see enough value in you to work it through, youve in reality lost nothing worth keeping. 

Iamwoman's picture

I'm not really sure what your younger daughter's blooming modeling career has to do with anything...

So I'll address the rest:

1. Your parents' toxicity most likely affects your moods and your relationship with your husband. I agree with Floppy Ear's question: did they ever apologize to him? It sounds like a betrayal to reconnect with your parents who treated your spouse poorly

2. You have self-admittedly not addressed your 16 DD's "introversion." That is in quotes because often people like to call rude a$$holes "introverts," which gives true introverts a bad name. A true introvert usually tries very hard to be social but often becomes flustered or exhausted by interaction quickly. A true introvert is not a rude, antisocial pr!ck. I am an introvert, but am very nice to people and people like me. I just tend to "hide" from the world more than most people. Perhaps you need to address your child's disrespect. Disrespect is vastly different than introversion.

3. Have you been to marriage counseling?

4. Are you willing to make whatever changes necessary to keep your "best friend" around, and if so, are the changes he desires in you even worth keeping him around? Mull this one over.

5. Its sounds like you are comfortable with status quo in your household and he is not at all. Yet, depsite him communicating this to you, you have refused to strive to ensure HIS comfort. Why? Write your answer down to this question, and you may find that it will help you figure more out.

6. You say he is your "best friend." Yet you are not acting like a friend to him. Best friends don't allow known problems to fester until they ruin the friendship. It sounds to me like you enjoy what he brings to your life, but you are not a good friend in return, and you do  not enhance his life nearly as much as he enhances yours. Friendships should be equal and mutual. Anything less is just one person using another person. You sound like the "user."

I hope you can self-reflect upon some of these items. None of this was meant to offend, but merely to serve as a launchpad for your own self-reflection.

You seem very surprised that he wants a divorce. Divorces don't just suddenly happen. There are usually lots of warning signs and one person desperately asking for changes along the way - requests that if not met, become simply unbearable and eventually result in divorce.

Sticking your head in the sand and thinking that problems will just disappear is never the answer, and always results in "surprise" endings for the ostrich in the situation - you.

I do feel sorry for you, but at the same time, I apologize if any of my comment is harsh. People who think that if they ignore problems long enough it will go away, actually fall under my list of pet peeves.


missginger's picture

I think she meant the younger daughter is showing modeling behaviors like her older sibling. Not modeling like a career.

Naturelover's picture

Thank you for your comments. yes, some is hard to hear but I need to hear it. We have not been to marriage counseling and I don't think my husband would go if I asked. I go to a counselor periodically but tend to stop going when I think things are "good." My parents never did apologize to him, or my siblings. The bottom line there  - they don't like him and they don't like newcomers into the family. They tend to shun ones that aren't welcome. It is hard and I understand how he feels betrayed. You are correct that I have not been a good friend. He has told me for a while now that he was going to get to this point. That once it hit, there would be no turning back. I think I didnt believe him. I thought that I could be this sweet, caring, affectionate wife and it would make all the problems go away. 

I do have tough decisions to make but right now, it is basically a choice between my daughter and my husband - that is not one I can make. He does not like her and she knows it. I think, deep down, I know it is not a healthy environment for her - I just dont know what to do. My husband wants to sell the house and have us both live on our own with our kids. He wants us to try to maintain a relationship between he and I, seeing each other on the weekends when we don't have the kids. And then, in two years, once my older daughter graduates - if things are good with my other daughter, consider moving back together. A lot of hard decisions.

Naturelover's picture

No offense taking and I will definitely be self reflecting. I am in contact with my family and that is a sense of betrayal to him. I feel so pulled in all directions. Cut off my family? Have my 16 year old live with her dad? I don't know what to do. I sometimes think it would be easier if I were on my own  - give me time to figure myself out. We were dating while I was getting divorced and got married a year after my divorce finalized. I think it was all too quick - for us and for the kids.

Iamwoman's picture

I read your blog today, and I don't think it's a good idea to send your 16 y.o. away.

Plenty of married couples live separately for various reasons. This is especially true in step families.

I think it is very generous of your DH to offer separate living arrangements until your DD16 launches. He really is a good friend to you.

If I were you, I would take him up in this offer.

Then, I would find a new counselor and not stop going just because I feel better.

You need to go to counseling until you can get to the root of your own family's dysfunction, and stop the cycle. You owe this much to your DH, and frankly, to yourself. It's impossible to emerge from dysfunction without carrying some with you and passing it along to others.

Some people feel "happy and fine" when they are doing evil things such as raping or killing. I'm not saying you do that (far from it), but it's possible that you can feel "happy and fine" after a few weeks or months of counseling, but still leave a wake of destruction in other's lives.

So this time, don't go to counseling for your own happiness. Go to learn how to be a good friend, parent, and partner.

Sometimes, parenting can be a miserable experience for years on end if you are doing it correctly. Children don't grow into successful adults on smiles and cupcakes alone...

Sometimes, being a good friend means doing things you don't really want to do. For instance, you may have had a cruise planned for the week, but instead you have to cancel it and sit in the hospital because your best friend is in the ICU.

Right now, YOUR best friend (DH) IS in the ICU. He is emotionally dying from this marriage.

Sometimes, life gets dirty, and you have to put your head down, and push onward bravely. Sometimes life sucks and you don't get to be happy. 

I have found that when I deliberately choose to sacrifice my own happiness to help another (within reason - being abused is not what I'm referring to), the rewards down the road are often the sweetest happiness ever - a happiness that I never could have attained without going through hell first.

You also said your thought if you were just a kind, loving, sweet wife, your DH would be able to bear the rest.

Nope. Nope. Nope.

Men don't actually really want a kind, sweet wife. Men SAY they do, but what they REALLY want is an equanimity partner in life.

This means that he wants to be able to trust that he can step away and you will be strong enough (and "bitchy" enough) to run things without needing to be rescued. 
Small children are cute when they are kind and sweet. Grown women are not (until we get to be about 85 - and even then, I personally prefer the elderly that have a sassy attitude).

DHsfamilyfromhell's picture

He may have mentally checked out for a while. 

You haven’t said if he has approached a solicitor already, and you haven’t said if you have tried counselling. 

Counselling may help you deal with this difficult situation, and there may be some possibility that your husband might agree to go to couples counselling with you if that were something you would consider. 

Some people won’t agree to go (which of course is up to them), and some people may change their mind about going after a few months etc. 

I think it would be sensible to have some support network in place for yourself.  


Naturelover's picture

He won't go to counseling - I know this. What needs to be fixed is me, not us. I have let issues persist to the point that he is where is right now. He plans to call a realtor tomorrow to see about putting the house up for sale. That kills me - we fought so hard for this hard and have put so much work into it. He thinks that if we live apart for two years until my older daughter graduates, there could be a chance for us to reconnect

Harry's picture

That the first major thing to address. You must do doing or not doing something to make him feel this way.  Your kids will be on there own in a few years.  So you must put your effort into DH.  A little alone get away.  Date night once a week.

your kids are old enough To be on the own a few days. 

Naturelover's picture

Except he doesn't want my kids here at all, at least not my 16 year old. We have days when we don't have the kids and all is good. But, as soon as they are back, it is not. He doesn't want to make me choose between him and my daughter but I know that if my daughter went to live at her dad's house, this would all be better. I cant banish her though

Evil3's picture

"You have self-admittedly not addressed your 16 DD's "introversion." That is in quotes because often people like to call rude a$$holes "introverts," which gives true introverts a bad name."

This!!!!!!!!! I totally agree with Iamwoman!

I went through my narcissistic SD30 shunning me for over 7 years in MY fucking home while living with us full time. My DH would make every excuse for her so that he could justify not doing anything about that piece of crap. I almost left, but I had a major blow-up and told my DH about the Step-Mother's Bill of Rights where one of the tenets is, "I will not be treated like an interloper in my own marriage." I laid down the law and said things change NOW or I'm gone. This was several years ago and I still harbour resentment that my SD got off scott free.

My SD claims to be introverted to cover up her horrible personality and treatment of people. Introversion and shunning people are two different things. Your DDs need addressing and consequencing pronto.

I've had a couple of DH's side of the family betray me and if he didn't handle it, I would for sure be long gone. Your spouse is the number one person you're supposed to protect and put above ALL others including your kids. Your DDs are being rude and disrespectful and you haven't been really hearing your DH when he's broached the subject with you. Why is that? Are you afraid your DDs won't want to come to Mom's house if you say anything?

If you really want to save your marriage, go to your DH and tell him that you finally get that your DDs are being cows and that you betrayed him by taking your family back into your life with no requirements to right any of the wrongs they have done to your DH. Admit that you failed your DH and that you'll change things pronto. Admit that your DDs are rude and disrespectful. You may even want to call your DH and DDs into a room together and tell your DDs in front of DH that the rudeness stops immediately or there will be consequences. Your DH is an adult in your home and they don't have to like him, but they MUST respect him. Exclusion is a form of abuse. That's how bad it is.

I'm so pissed off remembering what I went through so that's why I sound like a cow. I actually got diagnosed with C-PTSD after going through what your DH went through. It's THAT bad.

Naturelover's picture

That all sounds great except I should have done it two years ago! I think it is too late now. 

lieutenant_dad's picture

If you want to see if it can be fixed, I'd do the following:

1.) Ask your DH to go to counseling with you, then YOU put the leg work into researching counselors, preferably that have dealt with toxic in-laws and blended families. Present the list to him with information about each counselor and let him rank/choose two that he's interested in.

2.) Find yourself a personal counselor separate from the marriage counselor to figure out why you don't address issues until it comes to a head. Find one who specializes in toxic family dynamics. Do this regardless of whether he divorces you or not.

3.) Cease contact with your family for the time being. I wouldn't tell them why, but I'd go quiet with them.

4.) Since you all are going to keep living together for a while, find out from your DH what behaviors your daughter displays that irritates him and correct them if he is truly justified. If she refuses to say hello to him or engage in conversation, that's not socially awkward; that's rude. Y'all live together. The rules for how she engages with strangers or in large groups is different than with people in the household. If he's upset that she doesn't chit-chat with him but she is otherwise polite, he has to be the one to let that go.

I'm saying all of this assuming that he's not a controlling jacka$$ and just a fed-up man who is tired of having your extended family sh*t all over him and then gets the cold shoulder from your daughter(s). But, if there is a history of abuse, gaslighting, or controlling behavior, then start your exit plan and get away from this guy.

Naturelover's picture

I am debating right now if I have my daughter live with her dad o'n a permanent basis. I know she doesn't like her step dad, I'm not sure if she ever has. He expects a lot more out of everybody and she doesn't want to engage at all. I have not dealt with things as I should have - I have tried many things. I had her in counseling, I have tried talking and journaling with her, I have given her more wiggle room than I should have because I am afraid of damaging her psyche. Now, the question is - she doesn't want to really have anything to do with my husband and his kid and the behavior is rubbing off on her sister. How do I deal with this? I don't want to choose between my husband and my daughter but is my daughter forcing me to? Do I have her stay at her dads and pick her up from there to spend time with her? Maybe stay at my parents with her some weekends so we can spend time together? And then, eventually, could she come back to my house? Very tough decisions, any advice would be very apprecaited.

Evil3's picture

I get the part about not wanting to damage your DD's psyche. I was raised in an insane home and I went overboard to prevent my DD20 from being damaged like I was. I discovered that I gave her WAY too much wiggle room and WAY too much say. That is what is happening with your DD and why she felt entitled to treat your DH the way she has. She should have been taught that she does not have say in her mother's choice of a spouse and as long as your DH isn't abusive, your DD should have been taught that when people marry, household rules change and your DD should have sucked it up. She can dislike her SF as much as she wants, but she MUST respect him. Anyway, I get how easy it is to grant a child too much wiggle room. But you know the saying about when we know better we do better.

DHsfamilyfromhell's picture

It is sometimes not possible to keep everyone happy. You need to focus on the best possible outcome for yourselves, and perhaps if you have been a passive decision maker in the past (ie did you let your family take decisions out of your hands by waiting to long to state your opinion), maybe learn to speak up when you need to. 

You seem be seeking a right solution, when only you can do this by speaking to your husband. 

Sometimes people need to speak to each other and agree to conditions they can both work with, and this can take many many attempts. 

Evil3's picture

" do have tough decisions to make but right now, it is basically a choice between my daughter and my husband"

No this is not about choosing one over the other. This is about addressing your DD. Addressing your DD for shitty behaviour isn't abandoning her. She may manipulate and claim that, but it isn't that. I don't know why some parents see this as choosing. It isn't choosing at all. Drop the word "choosing" from your vocabulary.

As someone who has gone through what your DH has, I can tell you that at this point your DH hates your DD with the passion of a thousand fiery suns. When my DH confronted me on hating my SD's guts, I told him that I did and that it was his fault for allowing her abuse of me for so long. If he had stepped up a lot sooner than he had, I wouldn't have gotten to the point of hating her as much as I do. You have given your DD WAY too much power to have allowed her to treat your DH the way she has simply because she doesn't like him and then to make a flimsy excuse about how he has high standads or is strict. You married him, so you know that even if he might be strict, it doesn't mean abusive. When people marry, household rules change and your DD should have been told to suck it the fuck up.

At this point your DH really needs to not live with your DD. However, you still have options. You can take your DH up on the offer of separating households and reuniting when your DD launches at 18. If you choose this option, make sure there's a date that isn't too far in the future. I waited with baited breath for my forever-to-launch SD30 to finally move out at 25. It is totally unreasonable to expect a spouse to wait that long. The other option is to stay together in the same house, but have your visits with your DD outside your home. Give it some time and work on reunification or since your DD is 16, she wouldn't have that much longer at home if she were out at 18 anyway and visits outside the home can be the new normal.

Honestly, your DH is shell-shocked. It's traumatic to go through being disprespected and excluded in your own home. It's traumatic to work and financially contribute to the roof over the head of your abuser.

Forget the concept of "choosing." That's probably why you're so reluctant to discipline your DD. It's not choosing. Besides, do you want your DD to grow into an adult who acts the way she does to your DH? You'd be saving her just as much as you're saving your marriage. You're modeling marriage for your kids too. How would you feel if one or all of them came to you ten years from now and told you that their spouses were allowing them to be abused the way your DH has?

It's good that you're taking responsibility. And it's hopeful that your DH is willing to carry on a relationship with you in separate houses rather than outright divorce you.