This one is all about considering divorce. Ask Divorce Coach is Women’s Divorce Coach’s divorce advice column. Have a question? Send it to Cindy here. It’s anonymous!
Dear Divorce Coach,
I’m becoming more and more unhappy in my marriage as the pandemic drones on. Spending more time with my husband has brought out the worst in both of us. We’ve only been married for three years but I’m feeling like I’m trapped and that I made a mistake marrying him. He’s not willing to see a marriage therapist and although he admits things are bad, he doesn’t seem to feel as strongly as I do about a possible divorce. I feel like I need to decide quickly – I am in my late thirties and want to have kids. The way I see my husband treat our dogs is what is really making me question having kids with him. He is very strict and even borderline abusive to them. When I imagine him with a child I feel scared. Do I get out now and cut my losses?
– Considering divorce with an angry husband
Dear Considering Divorce,
The pandemic has many couples looking more closely at their marriage. Between the stress of finances and change to in most cases, more time together, things have been difficult for everyone. I am sure seeing your husband at his worst is difficult to watch. I am curious what drew you to him in the first place? What do you love most about him? It can be difficult to have a balanced perspective of someone when he is not dealing well with stress. You mention he’s not willing to go to marriage counseling. Is he willing to go to individual therapy? Have you shared your concerns about the way he is with your dogs? If he is willing to work on the marriage outside of seeing a therapist I recommend reading Harville Hendrix “Getting the Love You Want” together or any of the materials and books by John and Julie Gottman. I find that when working with individuals who are considering divorce, they feel best about their decision when they’ve exhausted all avenues in trying to make the marriage work. I commend you for thinking about what kind of a parent you want to be and what kind of a co-parent you want. I certainly do not recommend ignoring any intuitive feelings you have about abuse. My hope for you both is that if he’s willing to work on himself and the marriage you’ll get a clearer picture of him and his capacity to parent. I also recommend hiring a CDC Certified Divorce Coach® to help you further examine your path.
Dear Divorce Coach,
Last year during marriage counseling my husband revealed that he’d had an affair. We’ve done some work to repair and I’m working on forgiving him. Our sex life is still non-existent – I feel rage when I think about being intimate with him. I feel like I’ve put a lot of work into making the marriage work but I have serious doubts that I’ll ever trust him again. We have a fourteen-year-old child and honestly, if it wasn’t for them I’d be out the door. I know staying in a marriage for your kids isn’t the best idea, but my child is struggling with their gender identity right now and it feels like a really bad time to create more uncertainty for them. My husband says he made a big mistake and really wants us to stay married. He guilt trips me about our child when I talk about the possibility of splitting up. Any words of advice?
– Considering divorce after infidelity
Dear Considering Divorce After Infidelity,
My heart goes out to you. Trying to heal from infidelity is difficult and often a long road. Trust is one of, if not the most important things in a healthy relationship and it sounds like your struggling to see a path forward where you trust your husband again. While I know couples that have foraged this path with success by working consistently on redeveloping trust, it’s not the path for everyone. You brought up staying in the marriage because of your child who is struggling. Do they have a therapist you can talk to about their thoughts on how a separation would affect them right now? There is a saying “there is never a good time for a divorce.” I do understand that there may be some times that are better than others, however. I am guessing that your child is old enough to understand that their mom and dad aren’t getting along. Even without direct conflict, kids are very perceptive about tension among family members. Your kiddo might be more aware than you think about how unhappy you are. I definitely recommend you talk to a divorce coach or therapist who can help you with the decision, and how to best transition your kiddo if you decide to end the marriage. How you handle things moving forward is more important than the decision itself.