Awhile back, I wrote a blog called “Honey, I want a divorce: When the Woman decides to Leave.” It’s one of the most highly viewed posts I’ve written. I can’t count the number of women who have responded who can relate. But, the post also seems to infuriate some men and bring out a tremendous amount of divorce anger. Here are a few comments:
This is foolishness. When you are feeling guilty that is because you’ve done something wrong. I find it comical that you blind people are trying help adulterers overcome guilt. Of course they should feel guilty because they broker the oath to stay true their spouse to the end. The only way to end the misery is to stop being selfish, stop being lustful, stop being a slut. Simply put, mend your adulterous ways. Unless these lost people were abused or cheated on, quit treating these selfish oath-breakers as victims.
I find it very troubling to read how little respect women here have towards marriage. You SHOULD feel guilty for leaving an honest man. You ARE wrong. You ARE a bad person. You hurt the person who loves you the most because you were unable to fulfill your part of the bargain. You deserve to be unhappy and if you are happy hurting your husband, you are simply selfish and should be punished with the burden of guilt, you deserve nothing from the marriage, and should have to pay for the entire process of destroying your family, and feel guilty. Why? Because you made the decision….no one else and you are a bad person… accept the consequences for your selfish ness and stop trying to make divorce seem anything but wrong.
Cheating destroys families and it irreparably ruins lives! PLEASE HEAR ME ON THIS… Cheating isn’t just morally wrong, it DESTROYS LIVES! If you can live with knowing you’ve caused someone, like your husband, your children, another woman and perhaps her children, greater pain than they could ever know… then by all means, do your worst! But if you don’t want to live with that… don’t do it! Get out of your relationship first, divorce, separation, etc. then find someone who is single (only after you’ve gone to counseling to figure out what’s wrong with you), because let me say this… WHOLE people don’t need to cheat! Only empty, shallow people cheat and that has more to do with you than your partner.
It is very obvious that all three of these men have immense divorce anger over the way their marriages ended. So, what I want to say first is, I’m sorry. I feel for you. I understand how pissed off you are. I do. But I also want to say that for every one of you, there is a woman out there whose husband did the same thing to her. Please don’t lose site of that.
Furthermore, these three men are all assuming that every woman who leaves, leaves because of another man, which is very very very very very much not the case a lot of the time.
What these men are all failing to do is to take ANY responsibility in the demise of their marriage. While I was not in their homes to see what took place, I find it difficult to believe that a woman would just one day say, “You know what? I’m out of here,” despite the fact that things in the home were perfectly peachy keen. What I want to ask these men is, were there perhaps signs you didn’t see? Did your soon-to-be-ex try to go to counseling and you refused? Did you go to counseling? Did she try to tell you she was unhappy and maybe you ignored it?
People (both men and women) who won’t take responsibility for any part of a divorce really need to obtain some self-awareness so that they can begin to heal. Wasn’t there ANYTHING you did? Were you perfect?
All that said, there are some women (who I know personally) who left their husbands because they were bored and met someone else. It disgusts me. I want to punch them. So, yes, it happens. BUT, it also happens to women! Men do it just as much. But honestly, in most cases, the person someone cheated with wasn’t the reason the two got divorced, it was just the facilitator of moving forward with the divorce.
I’m not saying it’s right or okay to cheat, but rather I’m encouraging these men to let themselves see that MAYBE, just maybe, something was really wrong with the marriage, much worse than they thought at the time their wife left.
When you are feeling guilty that is because you’ve done something wrong, writes the first guy. I totally disagree. The person who leaves feels guilty because of the children. I find it comical that you blind people are trying help adulterers overcome guilt, he continues. Do you think I’m condoning adultery? Not the case at all. The post and the comments supporting it are meant to help women who decided to leave for a variety of reasons, not to tell them it was okay that they went out and got a boyfriend. Should a woman stay in a marriage when she is being physically abused? Or if her husband is getting drunk every night? Or, if he is cheating? No. Neither should a man.
You ARE a bad person. You deserve to be unhappy, you are simply selfish and should be punished with the burden of guilt writes guy #2. Really? My take is that this man was writing this to HIS ex-wife, not ALL women who left their husbands. I hope. I don’t know your situation. Maybe you are justified in saying this. What I do know is that the women reading this shouldn’t take this to heart because every situation is unique.
Cheating destroys families and it irreparably ruins lives writes guy #3. That is true. He continues, Get out of your relationship first, divorce, separation, etc. then find someone who is single (only after you’ve gone to counseling to figure out what’s wrong with you), because let me say this… WHOLE people don’t need to cheat! Only empty, shallow people cheat and that has more to do with you than your partner. Again, this is a case of a man who is talking to HIS ex-wife, not the general public. Not everyone who cheats is empty and shallow, and no one should go to counseling to figure out what’s wrong with them. You go to counseling to figure out how to fix your marriage, or how to understand why you do the things you do so you can change behavior that you want to change and make better decisions.
In closing, I just want to tell these men again how sorry I am for their situations. If I thought I was blissfully married and got blindsided by my husband leaving me for another woman, I’d be very hurt and angry. BUT, please remember there are so many women who leave not because they want to, but because they know they have to. They’ve tried everything and they can’t make it work. And for that, no one should be judged, nor should the women feel guilty or be punished or called nasty names.
I agree with you Jackie, these men seem to be speaking more to their ex-wives than to divorced women in general. It’s clear they are hurting and I feel sad for them. But to project such limited views over all women who choose to leave their relationships doesn’t make sense. There are all sorts of reasons why a woman decides to leave.
In my case, there was no adultery, addictions or physical abuse. But we had an emotionally dysfunctional relationship and over the years, I became a shell of who I was because I was so focused on trying to meet HIS needs over mine. My ex will tell you that he worked his butt of to provide for our family and I will never contest that. And I worked just as hard, too. But there are so many other layers to a relationship and if a man (or woman) expects their partner to do all of the work in preserving/growing the emotional or intimate side of a relationship, things will fall eventually apart. I didn’t resort to adultery to meet my needs that weren’t being met in my relationship, but I easily could have. If I did step out of my relationship, I still would argue that it wasn’t the adultery that was the problem in my relationship, or what caused the divorce.
It was my decision to end our relationship. I feel I did everything I could do to make it work. I absolutely feel it was the best decision for my own long-term health. But I still struggle with major feelings of guilt and sadness. Guilt in knowing that my children will face the burden of this decision forever. Guilt in knowing that my ex is still hurting several months later. It wasn’t an easy decision by any means.
In the case of infidelity it is easy to become stuck in a place of anger that is blinding to the reality of human relationships and behavior. Name calling, accusations, judgments and a cry for punishments are all evidence of how both parties in a relationship (or its aftermath) can go to dark places. We all think that WE love our partner unconditionally … unconditionally, that is, until they break a condition … then watch out! But, unfortunate as it is, infidelity is probably overrated as the underlying cause of divorce.
Relationships are by nature dynamic and humans are by nature imperfect … this is a recipe for error … and trial. Try standing on an exercise ball on the deck of a small boat on a turbulent ocean … two things are going to happen … you will experience a fall … and you will be understandably uncertain about which of the challenging circumstances was primarily responsible. Marriage and relationships are similarly fraught. The relationship aspect (harmony) will always fall ahead of the legal partnership (divorce) and with uncertain causes (or certainty as to fact of myriad causes). As Louis CK says, “Divorce is always good news … no good marriage has ever ended in divorce … that has happened … zero times.”
Some people will hold the illusion that vows alone will maintain a relationship or that simply keeping their own side of the street clean will entitle them to family stability, but these illusions lack a compassionate understanding of the imperfections of the partner they chose (and themselves). Anger is a natural human emotion but it is something to experience (it is a gateway to other emotions) and move past (we move to other more nuanced emotions when we see circumstances more clearly).
Guilt (the feeling you’ve DONE something wrong) and shame (the feeling that you ARE something wrong) are both common to people who haven’t yet embraced the reality that we are all imperfect works in progress, doing our best and trying to make sense of difficult circumstances … trying to stay on the exercise ball … and trying to rebound in a compassionate way when we fall off. Respect (or lack thereof) for marriage does not have anything to do with gender … it has everything to do with respect for people and the challenge of keeping a relationship together as something far more cooperative than a blind oath and a legal arrangement.
lisa thomson-The Great Escape...
Nicely articulated and so important to clarify these differences. I think you are right about the men being angry about their own personal situations.
I agree with Jackie that these men have alot of anger for their ex-wives.
I am still going through a brutal divorce. I found out my ex-wife was cheating on me and I was very upset. I knew that our marriage had its problems but it was the lying that really was difficult. We went through many changes during the last two years of our marriage. My ex-wife’s mother died after a long illness, my ex-wife was fired twice in 6 months, we moved from her home country to mine, and then she had four extra marital affairs in 18 months. Two of these affairs led to one separation and another to divorce for the other couples. It also turned out that one of the affairs led to her second firing as she had been having an affair with a subordinate and had missued company travel funds to arrange for a trip together.
During the divorce I found out that she had embelezzed $55,000 that I thought had been used for her mother’s cancer treatment.
And to add on top of all these issues in her initial divorce decree she claim I was not the father of our daughter and attempted to end my parental rights. And when the court rejected her claim she kidnapped our daughter and fled to Russia. Now she had be charged with 1st degree kidnapping.
There were problems in our marriage before all of this unfolded. I had caught her in our second year of marriage in an extra martial affair. And I knew well her personality so I take much of the blame as I now I know I should have never married such a person.
As you might be able to imagine I have gone through periods of anger at my ex. I do not consider what my ex to have done to be generalizable to all women. In fact I now in the early stages of what I hope is a healthy relationship.
I have found that taking responsibility helps with the emotions related to divorce.
The legal system does not help. I had tried to keep my ex-wife from fleeing to Russia but the court decided to believe her promise not to flee. I can see why men (and women) get angry about the process.
Wow.. those are some angry men.
I left my husband of 9 years, for domestic violence. I was always submissive up until he beat me on front of my kids. Surely did not want my 2 girls think it’s okay to get beat. I put my claws out, and fought for my kids whom i have FULL CUSTODY of.
Every situation is different.
Divorce is called for in cases of abuse. No one contests that. You have no reason to feel guilt, and you don’t need forums like these to validate your decision.