From someone who has been receiving emails and comments from readers for almost 6 years, I can say with certainty that I’ve heard tens of thousands of heartbreaking stories having to do with marital problems, divorce, and dating and relationships. When it comes to the people who write me about divorce, the two most common scenarios are: “I left my husband” or “My wife left me.”
I’m not saying men don’t leave their wives. They do. But I find that most don’t write to me because if they left their wife, they left for another woman. Not all, but most. I also get countless emails from heartbroken women whose husbands unexpectedly left them. But I find that when women leave, about half leave because they met someone else, and half leave because the situation isn’t working anymore. In other words, they leave without being in another relationship.
The following two comments were received on Divorced Girl Smiling the same day, and I thought it would be interesting to examine each one’s perspective:
The first is from a woman who decided to leave her husband:
My husband is a good person but not a good husband or father. He hasn’t cheated, isn’t an addict and he comes home every night. Unfortunately, all he does is work and come home. I work full time and I do all the housework, raise the kids, manage our finances, etc. We have been married for 17 years and I started expressing my need for help in our second year of marriage. I’ve also told him many times that I would be fine with doing all the work if I had an emotionally engaged partner and father to the kids. He still doesn’t help without being specifically told and he does not communicate about anything other than things like the weather. He has never asked me to dinner, a movie, a walk. I asked him to couples therapy 7 years ago. He went to a couple of sessions and said he needed a break from it – he never went back. I’ve spoken to him so many times over the years but he either can’t do the work necessary to fix this or he just won’t. Either way, the net result is the same to me. I’m so lonely and exhausted that I am in physical pain. I have turned myself inside out in an attempt to change my mind and heart to make this relationship bearable for the rest of my life. He will never know or believe how badly I wanted to stay married to him.
This is from a man whose wife left him:
I am not a religious person, but when I got married it was supposed to be because this is the person I want to be with forever. It is too easy to walk away and chalk it up to life. I am a non- confrontational man who has been married 22 years. I help with house chores, I cook, I do all the work outside, I am supportive emotionally and financially, I am a good communicator of my feelings and tend to her emotions. I tell my wife she is beautiful and sexy and I get the “I am not in love with you anymore speech”. Just too easy to walk away, marriage requires work sometimes, compromise and understanding. Just saying it’s OK to just walk away makes you a moron. You are impacting lives you have created and molded for your own selfish reason. I accept if your husband was a jackwagon, but those leaving behind a good person should reconsider. Any person who walks away without trying, be it a man or woman, I would hope ends up lonely, old and sad because you deserve it.
I think it’s easy for people to read these and immediately judge.
For the woman’s comments:
One might think, ‘Her husband sounds like a good guy. She’s getting divorced for such a stupid reason. Why can’t she make it work? They have no real problems. She’s a spoiled brat who expects too much. Wait till she goes out and tries to meet a normal guy. She will regret the divorce.’
On the other hand, here are the points I heard: 1. She has been expressing her unhappiness for the past 15 years. 2. He quit couples therapy. 3. She is in physical pain from loneliness. So, is she supposed to say, “OK, I don’t have it bad because my husband isn’t a drunk or abusive or a cheater, so I will just suck it up?” Nope.
This marriage is broken and what’s such a shame is, it was fixable. I’m not blaming the husband entirely because I didn’t live with them, but if the husband didn’t want the divorce, he could have tried harder to make his wife happier. It’s not hard to do chores around the house or take your wife out on a date, so what’s the problem? Does it go deeper for him? What’s really a shame is, they are going to get divorced, and this guy is going to be such a better spouse for the next woman. He will have learned. I see this in divorced men I know personally. They tell me they are better spouses after the divorce. So, it’s frustrating as hell to women, that a man can’t just be his best self the first time around!!! Ugh! By the way, the same scenario goes for women also.
For the guy’s comments:
He says it’s too easy to walk away, and that he does chores and tells his wife she is beautiful. He sounds like he was a great husband. What’s the catch? There’s got to be a reason the wife walked away. In my personal experience, I don’t know many women who WANT to be divorced. So, did she meet someone else? Is she dysfunctional and can’t handle a man who treats her well? Maybe this guy is the greatest guy and now he is available to meet a woman who truly appreciates him. Or is there more to this story about the guy that he isn’t telling us?
My point in sharing these is, none of us should be judgmental when we hear about a woman who left her husband, a man who left his wife, OR a man or a woman who is bitter about being left. Why? Because no one was in any of these marriages except for the two people, so we just don’t know all the facts.
When I was first getting divorced, a woman in my community told another woman, “Why is she getting divorced? Her husband is so cute and seems like such a great guy. She’s crazy.” That still infuriates me to this day because not only did she not know us very well, she had never even been to our house!
Every divorce situation is complicated and unique, and there are countless factors that go into the decisions that each person makes. Both people usually end up regretting certain decisions in a divorce (myself included) but then they realize some of the decisions they made were the right ones.
I notice on Divorced Girl Smiling that when people comment, some readers are supportive, while others give advice. Then there are those who respond rudely, angrily, and judgmental. In most cases, these people are taking out the frustration of their own situation on a stranger.
Try to be kind to every person who comments, because the few sentences of what they write are all that we know about the situation. Whether she left him or he left her or his wife left or her husband left—every divorce is unique, but unfortunately they are all heartbreaking. They seek support here, so please try to be supportive.
Like this post? Check out, “Honey, I Want A Divorce: When A Woman Leaves”