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Ask the Divorced Guy!
by Dean Hughson
Title: How Can I Stop My Divorce?
I am a 45 year old man who has been married for 20 years to a fine person.
Recently at her request I moved out of the family house to my mothers
because she says she needs ''space''. Last nite we had a talk and she said
she feels like a '''sister'' to me but not a wife. She has changed the
locks on the house, the password on the family computer, and keeps talking
about being in charge. My grown kids are sort of mystified also. We go to
church together and she is friendly but that is all there is to it. What
do I do to stop this divorce?
I see a lot of these "I am in charge and will run my own life'' type
divorces. What brings this on? For many people an event like the loss of
a parent, a close friend, or the awareness of growing older all of a sudden
makes the person worried that they are missing out on something in life and
they fear unless they make a radical change they have wasted their life.
For many of them, they identify their marriage as the thing holding them
back. Others believe it is from neglect
So the logical question at this point is what do you do when you are at
1. Stop pursuing your wife. Since she is obviously giving you the signal
that she wants to be in charge let her be in charge. As hard as it is,
don't try and make her do anything. If there are things that need to be
done, ask her to make the decision. This is a difficult skill for some of
us who are used to making decisions but it must be acquired.
2. Try and get yourself and she to counseling. Find a good
marriage counselor who believes in marriages. Better yet, ask your wife to
choose the counselor so that she feels like she is in charge.
3. Work on feeling better physically and emotionally. Walk, run, swim, play
tennis, take old friends out for lunch, whatever it takes to get back to
feeling good. Take a class at the free university in your area, learn a
language, restore a family painting you have been meaning to do, etc. Make
it a point to become even closer to your kids, no matter how old they are
but at the same time respect their need for space at times also.
Eventually your emotional health will be restored.
Whatever happens, be aware that things in your marriage will never be the
same as they were. You can't put the genie back into the bottle when
someone opens the lid but it doesn't mean that you and your wife can't fall
back into love with the right counselor, some changes in both individuals'
behaviors, and some counseling help. If the marriage doesn't survive, you
will at least know you have tried everything possible. You will see me
recommend to many people the book DIVORCE BUSTING by Weiner-Davis. This
book can help you understand divorce and the various ways to try and save
the marriage and if not, at least feel better. Reading is a good way to
better understand what is happening. Let us know how it is going.
Dean Hughson, called the Dear Abby of Divorced Dads by the KC Star, is the founder of the DIVORCE HOMEPAGE. He has talked to thousands of people contemplating divorce, going through divorce, or the chaos afterwards and gives referrals and advice. He resides in Nevada, the state with the highest divorce rate in the US.
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