Tuesday, June 19, 2018
Parenting & Relationships

Tell Me About It: Separation may help wife gain clarity

Q: My husband wants to separate/divorce because of many issues that we have. He feels they are mostly my fault.

I'm not perfect but usually I only react badly if he gets angry at something I didn't even register, or if he insists he knows what I mean when I'm saying something else and trying to explain.

Anyway, I already apologized and took all the blame for the sake of the marriage, but he still wants to separate. I think we have communication issues and have begged for years to go to therapy. He refuses.

How hard do I try? Do I throw myself on the floor at his feet (figuratively), shower him with kindness, even if he doesn't give me the same? Or do I accept what he has decided and move on?

We don't have any children, so it's not that complicated, and also I'm tired of being berated for being "disrespectful." But when he's not angry things are good, I think!

When is it Trying Too Hard?

A: It's common for people to think separateanddivorce, all one thing, but they're two different things. Separate (think), divorce (let go).

Why not agree to the separation — since it seems to be coming anyway, whether you want it or not — and see how you feel after you adjust to it?

Who knows, after a few weeks of breathing air with the anger and criticism filtered out, you might find yourself more enthusiastic about a divorce than he is. You just said he "doesn't give me" kindness. Game over, no?

If your marriage isn't as unhealthy as you made it out to be here, then the solitude, focus and clarity permitted by your separation will help you repair your communication from your two different homes.

Either way, trying to heal is something you fully control, so start taking good care of you. A dynamic where one spouse pushes all blame onto the other is a textbook formula for your abuse. Drop your plea for couple's therapy, please, and start going just for you.

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