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Trying to be strong, maybe I am just selfish?


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I'm at a loss, and throwing this out to the wind for any thoughts.


I'm considering divorce from my wife. 9 years together, 5 of them married. No children.


We have always had a rocky relationship, lots of fights about little things that turn into big blowouts. A lot of misunderstanding and misreading of the other partner that turn into problems. Partner suffers from depression, possibly bipolar, low self esteem. Partner is both very emotional and very emotionally needy. I am not very emotional and probably a bit to emotionally distant. Any prolonged trips together always result in a major fight.


We also have a trust issue over an emotional affair I was involved in last year. We have seen a therapist about the issue, and were told in our last session that we were not compatible people and life would be much easier apart.


We have discussed divorce many times over the last year, and in our escalating fights she has been bringing it up regularly. She has even 'dared' me to break up with her during fights or told me I am too weak to do it.


So, I got tired of the years (and years) of fighting and asked for a divorce the other day. She went into a panic attack, then told me all the talk she had about divorce was not reality. She tells me that she is in it for the long term, loves me, and wants to make it work. I do love the woman, but I just don't feel like I have the energy to try again in this relationship. I know we can make it work in the short term, but looking at years from now I cannot see us working together in happiness. I guess mentally I steeled myself for this decision and have moved on.


So, basically I told her I was done, and now she is questioning it. Telling me to give it another chance, telling me that I did not give it enough effort etc.


I guess right now the future looks much brighter to me single. We have no children, and have no religious beliefs against divorce. It's just so hard for me to hurt this woman, and really sever the tie. Ugh, so confused.

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It looks like you have tried to work things out but the circle continues. If you can end the marriage with no regrets and feel like there just is no solution to the many problems then what else can you do. Fear of being alone and loosing the one you have been with for so long can be scary.

At some point you have to be a little selfish and think of yourself and not just of her. If she had some good ideas to help instead of just saying give it more time, then it might be different. If there is a good way to end a marriage I am sure you will find it. I am sorry.....



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Thanks lost.


Her idea for making it work is just that we spend the next couple months going above and beyond to be loving to each other, in hopes that it will 'catch on'. I believe we can go a couple months and have a fine time with each other, but this seems like no sort of solution to me. There's no reason why we won't eventually slip back into where we are now.


My only solution is a lot of hard work, therapy, and learning to deal with the innate differences and challenges between us as a couple. That was my solution last year and my therapist basically said 'why are you still in this relationship?'. The only reason I could come up with is that I care about and love the woman, but I just don't think its enough at this point to deal with the anger and unhappiness.

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It would be great to imagine that it's fixable, but your odds are approaching zero. I was in a decade long relationship, and although breaking it off was over-the-top difficult, it was still the best thing for both of us.


When you have to go out of your way to try to love someone or try to be good to someone then you've already lost. It shouldn't be that hard. If you have to force yourself to do something then that's when resentment and anger begins to build. No matter how much you love someone, sometimes being apart really is the answer. Taking two more months to fix this won't solve anything at all. You'd each be better served by taking two months apart.

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If you truly DO want to save your marriage you need to have a more positive attitude. No, you are right, there are no guarantee things won't revert.

But there also are no guarantees that things won't or can't get better, either.

Ten years is a LONG time, much longer than most marriages last these days.

Anger and unhappiness is going to come out after a decade together.

But if you really want to work on it, you can- it's tough- (I have been with my husband for about the same amount of time as you- and we've definitely had similar ups and downs)

BUT you have to think in terms of it being an everyday effort, not as a one- time solution. Or one that has to be made in a time frame.

Someone who has devoted a decade of their life to you surely deserves a fair shot and not just a short-term half hearted attempt.


The fact you say you still love her and care about her is a good thing.

If you said you didn't, I'd be giving you much different advice.

After so long together, ugliness is going to come out, any way you slice it.

And it is not the easiest thing to walk away from someone you've invested so much time & effort into. Regardless, sometimes during tough times- throwing in the towel can seem an attractive solution. If you walk away, you will also be filled with anger and unhappiness, just a different kind.

Any path you choose will guarantee hard work and difficult times.


I think you can get back to that place where the good outweighs the bad- But you HAVE to believe it can happen.

If you remain plagued with doubt, fear, impatience and hopelessness you are defeating yourself before you even try.

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This is a excellant post that I whole heartedly agree with.


As stated here, no one can predict the future. But you have an effect on the future by the actions you take right now. The outcome of these actions needs to be accepted no matter how it unfolds. But when you concentrate your attention on the future outcome (with a so-called negative feeling about it), you are really not giving it your all bc your attention in the future. And nothing can be effectively accomplished in a realm that does not exist.


If your wife is serious about trying to make this work, then she may (as you have said) have to work out her emotional issues especially if they do include a form of clinical depression.


As for the therapists you have gone to, these are the type that I interviewed that I had the most trouble with understanding their approach. "You are not compatible" is an easy way out for them. Those therapists who seem to do the most good are the one that concentrate their efforts on teaching the couple communication skills. In learning how to communicate with one another (usually ends the incessant arguing), the connection between them, that has been there, can be realized in its simplicity.


Just my view.

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SN -


Does your wife go for individual therapy also? You mentioned her emotional problems, it seems both of you would benefit from her having some help with those problems.


How do the fights normally start? My ex started fights with me almost daily. I often wondered in his case if it was a subconscious ploy on his part to get me to end the marriage. In my case I did legally separate, we then reconciled for a year and then he left. It is possible your wife has emotional issues that may cause her to try sabotage the marriage through fighting, etc.


If she is doing anything like that, she may not be aware and might not understand the impact of her actions. These behaviors are also very powerful. If she is trying to get emotional reactions from you, this is a way to draw you into a heightened emotional state. It becomes a destructive pattern and unless it can be changed, will only cause more emotional pain and possibly damage.

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These are very valid points, but I really don't think there has been anything half hearted about the effort I have put in. We are talking about years of unhappiness & fighting in the relationship, followed by my big contribution to our problem by getting involved in an emotional affair, followed by another year and a half of therapy & work on the relationship.


At what point is it no longer half-assed? She is still incredibly bitter about the affair and does not seem to be able to internally come to terms with it. I am unhappy with the mood swings and constant fighting.


Regardless, she put the wheels in motion big time. I am now banished from the house for several weeks while she puts her life in order to move out of town. She has scheduled a meeting with a mediator next week, and her family has rallied around her to get her back home. She's willing to still talk about reconciliation, but says I need to get into therapy for my stilted emotional capacity. Her depression does not even seem to be on the table any more. Finally, regardless of if we going to try to reconnect she is planning to separate for a number of months to get a clear head.


So, it's spiraling out of control, quickly...

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Well...as I've gotten advice from others on this forum (good advice)...all I can add is you need to be able to live with your decision. It sounds like you've been through a lot of emotional turmoil in this. Do you feel you've exhausted your efforts? Do you feel that you can't fight for it anymore. At some point, all the striving for a better relationship without results can wear you down to a point where you just can't fight for it anymore and it's time to move on..for you and her sake.


I can't underestimate what things like undiagnosed/untreated depression, mental health issues can do to a relationship. I'm living proof. It really wrecked me (as well as her).

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