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I've decided to leave my husband... but how do I find the strength to actually do it?

Tagged as: Breaking up, Marriage problems<< Previous question   Next question >>
Question - (2 March 2007) 30 Answers - (Newest, 24 July 2011)
A female age 41-50, *anuary Doll writes:

I have decided in my mind that I need to leave my husband. I am seeing a psychologist that feels this would be the best thing for me as well, being that my heart and love is not with him. The problem is I am scared, and worried about him. I told him I was unhappy, that he was depressed and needed help, I told him I did not love him the way a wife should. He wants to make it work, but I do not. I am afraid to leave because I am worried about his mental stability and our financial picture. Since I have told him I was considering leaving, he did a complete 180, he says he will change for good, he says he did not realize for the last 6 years that he as been mean, unaffectionate, and belittling to me. I do not know how he could not have known. I care deeply for him, but I am not in love with him anymore, and I resent these things now.

I have been trying to get the courage to move out of the house, but have not been able to figure out how to do it. What can I say to him, how do I find the strength?

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A reader, anonymous, writes (24 July 2011):

I am about to go through this. I've been agonizing over this decision for about 8 years. She is a not a bad person. But I am not in love anymore and being in this marriage is an enormous emotional strain. I get nothing positive out of it for years.

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A female reader, Shelley Harris United Kingdom +, writes (6 February 2011):

Shelley Harris agony auntHi,

This is quite a difficult question to answer on paper, but the reason why you find it so hard to go is because you don't think enough of yourself. When we are in an emotionally abusive relationship we are belittled undervalued etc, we lose our sense of self we believe we don't deserve, and we put others and their feelings before our own. When you were born you were born as an individual, although you are married, it is not your job to take on their insecurities, if they are having problems and they don't change, THAT IS NOT YOUR FAULT, you are paying for their pain. You need to realise that you are IMPORTANT and if this life is not good then you need to realise you are not their to prop them up, THINK ABOUT YOUR LIFE, The only thing you can control is YOU. You have to take the courage that you are now going to think about yourself. If you loved yourself you wouldn't have a problem leaving because you would know not to put up with this CRAP. Its time to flourish, think about you for a change. Life is too short. MAKE SURE YOU LIVE THE REST OF IT,ON YOUR TERMS AND HAPPY.

If you would like some FREE information that will help go to my website www.strategies-4-life.com GOOD LUCK YOU CAN DO IT

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A reader, anonymous, writes (5 February 2011):

I have been married for 28 years and I feel the same way. I wish I had left him a long time ago but then I wouldn't have had my six children. He is an alcholic, annoying and selfish. However, I find it hard to really hurt him. He is useless and would not be able to look after himself especially financially. It will be our 29th wedding aniversary soon and I don't know how I can keep celebrating when we have nothing to celebrate. He has issues of his own and health problems that are genetic as well as drink related. The kids would feel sorry for him and hate me if I left him to his own mess. But I am getting older and feeling life is too short. I want something for myself is that so wrong? I went to alanon and instead of feeling any support I felt blamed. I am supposed to just stop helping him but when I have even on little things like taxing his own car etc we end up with fines which I have to sort out!

I need to keep the house running and kids safe (although most are grown but still at home) how can I let him hit rock bottom? It would mean us all hitting it too and how will that help the other 7 of us?

I am not sure financially I would manage but I KNOW he wouldn't as I earn more. It is not easy and I guess I don't have an actual answer for you just a hope that there is one out there!

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A female reader, princessvenus9 United States +, writes (17 January 2011):

princessvenus9 agony auntHi,

I have been there. The majority of men are controlling and abusive. Only you can make the decision to get out. I have 3 children, two boys and one girl. I was in and out of abusive relationships since I was pregnant with my first born. I got tired of it and no one should ever have to endure the physical and mental abuse. I left and moved, was found and was scared. In the end, I made my decision to never go back. Just because you don't work, doesn't mean you can't take care of yourself. Get a job, a babysitter, go back to school and prosper. The only reason why they are being abusive is because they know you can do better without them. Their insecurities becomes what makes them more violent and mentally abusive towards you so that you may think that you can never make it without them. And no matter how much you tell them, you're not happy, they will never change. NEWSFLASH!!! We can always do better alone than with someone that is causing so much misery in our lives. Pick yourself up now and leave and make what you wanted to make of yourself when you were in grade school...no child ever says, "I want to be an abused wife when I grow up!". Suffice to say, I am happier now then I was 7 years ago. I am a working professional and the sacrifices I made was worth it. My oldest graduated from High School, my middle child is on his way to the same path this year and my daughter is a beautiful pre-teen. Don't feel sorry for him, he knows what he is doing. Find your own happiness. You will thank yourself later for doing so.

Many Blessings on your voyage,

Jenny

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A reader, anonymous, writes (28 November 2010):

Hi there, I can semi-relate to what you must all be going through, as I am also wanting to leave my husband of 20 years, but have my worries about doing so.

We fortunately haven't got any children, which is a blessing now, but there was a time when we really did want them to come along (though thinking back it was always me that wanted them the most).

We also have a lovely home that we share with our cute rescue dog (which I think, was my substitute for a baby, though still love him to bits), but then something like this happens and the happy home gets turned upside down!

This isn't the first time I have felt like this, wanting to leave, and I have told my husband this, but he is obviously happy with the way we are so that's that in his eyes. I am really trying at the moment to be as honest and open with him about my feelings as I can, but he just says that it's my decision to make if I want to leave, but he doesn't want me to go! I can understand why he would say this, as what more can he say if he is perfectly happy with us and doesn't want anything to change, then it's my problem to sort!

But I have met another man this year who I am really attracted to, but not having an affair with. I couldn't honestly say that this man is not the reason for me wanting to leave my husband, but, in my mind, there must be a problem in the first place between us for me to see someone else and want to leave! If everything was ok between us and we really loved eachother there is no way I would of looked at another man, but I have, and unfortunately this is not the first time it has happened, though this time my feelings are alot stronger than the other times.

It is obviously very confusing for me and my husband (especially my husband), and although I really don't want to hurt him, and never asked for this to happen again, I really do think that I might, and ought to, leave him this time as it, seems to me, to be the best thing to do in the long run, as I do think that if I stayed with him again, unfortunately, it would happen again in the future and that really isn't going to be fair on him, one bit.

I know all this is going to sound really harsh to people that haven't been in this situation before, and you are all probably going to say it's just a mid life crisis crush (I and my husband have even thought that too in the early stages), but it isn't to me now, and unfortunatley we can't always control the way we feel, and we really have to listen to our hearts and our heads and try and work something out that will be for the best all round.

What a confusing mess we all get ourselves into huh!

It really is a difficult situation though, even more so for those that have children to consider and worry about, and yet it is so easy to just stay in one place and carry on being miserable for the rest of your lives.

But life is too short for all of this, though we still have to go through it, we really must think long and hard about whether it is the right thing to do to make us and those close to us happier in the future.

Anyway all the best to you all and hope everyone can get their lives sorted out soon, and try and live happier ones as that is so important for all our healths and well beings.

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A reader, anonymous, writes (28 October 2010):

I to am trying to figure out how to leave my husband. I have been married for 28 years and dated him for two. I was 14. Got pregnaunt at 16 married three months later. Been mentally,emotionally, pshcologically abused since day one, even when we dated i tried to break up and he convinced me then not to. We have 6 kids ages 15 to 28. Three at home. Two boys 16, 19 and daughter 15. We were loosing our home two summers ago and were able to sell it, which i blame him for putting us through, his controlling, and bought a small farm, Before we moved, we lived with my parents in the city 5 hrs away. He moved back first with our son, and my daughter and i moved back in february last year after the first semester. I have an amazing job making good money. We moved back. of course excited about the new house and all and around 4 months things started to gradually go back to they way they were. So here i am empty, unhappy, tired mentally, frustrated, miserable. When i think of leaving i look around at what i have excluding him and think why would i. But then he opens his mouth. he has no friends, nor do i. i am not working, he is probably going to jail for dui, if i leave then my boys are here alone, it just goes on and on, what the hell.................

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A male reader, anonymous, writes (12 September 2010):

Hey this is juan, I'm point be very honest to you, if you really think the way you're expressing of you relationship is better to "talk now" don't let it pass any time. The thing is that same thing pretty much happen on my marriage I was the one or probably both of us got together to young of age. I started to go out, I'm saying like every weaken until got to the point that she left me. It never pass true my mind that she was goin too cause I tought that I gave her everything thing she had,own car,really nice house, so what I'm trying to tell you, taught they had every thing they needed to keep up goin o I say they cause theirs 3 daughters that I have, 11, and two 5 year old twins and on the time a still was really young I was 26yrs. I didn't knew nothing of life when we did. The mistake we were learning as life went, but I started goin on a different direction, but the time I notice, I had lost everything i worked for a family. Did you pretty much see what I'm trying to tell you. So im goin to make it short, LET US KNOW WHEN YOU START TO FEEL THAT YOU ARE LOSING INTEREST IN OR FAMILY UNTIL IS TO LATE.

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A male reader, anonymous, writes (10 September 2010):

So I'm probably the first male to write here, and its because a lot of the comments I have read seem in line with my ex's thoughts. After 4 years of what came across as an epic, biblical love and admiration for me, as if written in the cosmos, she left me. We were never married, and I would never have so much as thought of going as far as some of the horrific deeds I've read about here. I did have my reasons, but for the sake of objectiveness, her view as best as I, its opponent, can argue for it: "You never did anything for me, didn't put in effort with us, you yelled at me, and when I wanted to talk things out, you just got annoyed and angry. I did everything for you. You had 4 years to change and now its too late."

Maybe this misunderstanding comes down to what those years really were. Specifically which of these 2 scenarios was actually taking place: 1. Was all this time adequate and was the setting condoning to change? Or, was it a recipe for conditioning? Consider this...

My ex did complain...a lot. (She also showered me with cards saying how much she loved me, which adds a lot of weight to my case. However, lets leave the cards and praise out for the scenario at hand.) Lets say you, as wife, complained, tried however you knew how to make the situation better, including looking at yourself and what you could improve personally [By the way, haven't seen any of that here :\

but lets say, as far as you could see, you did everything possible and the guy kept on being a jerk, thus making you fall out of love. Now, all of a sudden, that love/attraction/addiction to his precense - whichever it actually is, has vanished. The fact that its gone, as well as the speed of how fast it left is astounding to anyone and everyone, so much so that for the first time, he starts to question whether that which vanished was even actually love. He is stupified and flabbergasted. He is also having a hard time saying much more than "I love you, I'll change", and an even harder time conceptualizing thoughts and telling you his side, because hes so emotional, and, unlike you, not used to dealing with such harsh feelings. You've become skilled at techniques to navigate these rough spots (self-help books, girlfriends giving you their undivided attention and unwavering approval, even if you're clearly in the wrong - because, this is your time. It is to give you what you need: support.

On the other hand, these feelings fog his brain, making it tough to even keep the typical, counterproductive yet expected, almost Neanderthol-ish outlook on feelings, they're (alleged) lack of applicability to anything that matters, and thus They're assumed expectation of civic duty to anything that interacts with the public, or moves forward in ways that correlate very intricately. being too hardcore to be ruffled. This fog is likely making him act even more irrational, which, back on your end, may add to your confidence in the decision to leave. The relationship had years of one-sidedness...most all myself if I can even remember anything else. It never seemed to bother him at all. He was gruff and impatient with you, and he did almost the bear minimum, if that.

On top of this, his support group isn't nearly as sophisticated or as scientifically planned out as a woman's. Actually, apart from "aye man, shtf up and drink this!", in his mind it doesn' go much passed the bar of soap he was looking for this morning. hopefully I'll remember on my way home - some soap for that shower.

Well, first, it's is always important to let your partner miss you. Women get so upset at the concept of "oh, now you miss me." Where along the line did the concept of "not missing someone" (opposite of missing) become fused with "taking advantage" of someone? And why are we expected to act as lovingly and excited as we would when we miss you, when we actually don't? It just seems foolish to expect otherwise, especially when this duality is really the crux of all pain and pleasure. Sunny days probably wouldn't even be called "Sunny", if everyday was like that. Imagine...They'd be called "continuous, slow, hellfire days", or something ridiculous like that.

It isn't apparent at first glance, but trying too hard can be as deteriorating to the relationship as not trying at all, if you put it next to the lesson in "too much of a good thing" and "you gotta see unpleasant to recognize pleasant." Harmony entails balance, so those of you who "did and tried EVERYTHING", and did so continuously, please try to consider what message this gives off, particularly to a man and our way of thinking (whatever you want to label it). To start, despite the tears, by being such a loving wife, you are in a way praising me for my malice, especially when the praise and malice happen in close time frames of each other. You are also lying, because your re-affirming your love for him when it is actually the opposite that's happening. You teach people how you want to be treated. If this is what I get from you when I give you this, and what I'm getting is nice, you're giving me an incentive for me to continue my malice behavior.

2nd, and I believe this is the most overlooked and most important. You put up with it for years and complained and complained. However, did you explicitly communicate to him the fact that if the behavior he exhibits stopped and you can't stand doesn't stop, you will leave? Or did you complain, ask him to stop, and then one day sort of blow and say "enough!"

If you did the former, Kudos : )

The latter? Not so much....

Again, you are, likely without noticing, sending another message supposedly tom. very clear and distinct message you, in this scenario, do not want to:

By complaining about his faults, whether strongly or mildly, even if you're expressing a deep anger and hatred for them, you stay. In your mind, you staying shows how hard you try. What it really does, when paired with the fights and complaints, and without the altimatum (this is key) is this: These are your faults. We all know everyone has them, all couple's butt heads because of them to an extent (obviously some much more than others). Here are yours. See my tears and hear my tone? I don't like them at all. However, I'm still here. Thus, Your qualities outweigh them."

I hope you can see why men often get absolutely blindsided and devastated when this happens. Let him know your getting close to that point of not loving him, how close, if you can. Discuss openly where its leading. And, honestly, denial = horrible excuse. the word deny (a statement, concept, etc.) actually is a synonym for Lie. Your denial comes from your desires for what you want to be, and that is completely your responsibility to check. So don't think praising him's gonna make him think "oh, wow. you know, she really doesn't deserve this". That won't expose him to the need for change. Do what will. Don't take the selfish and immature route of keeping your resentment a secret (obviously, you don't want to fight, and you probably don't want him to drop the ball before you.)Do whats right and stand up and say it. you may be risking him leaving you, but in the end your pain will subside and heal, because you'll sleep knowing (and trust me, he will too) you're the one who got away from him, not the selfish, sneaky woman hes lucky did this to him before he gave her kids." Being that woman is something to be ashamed of, and while the revenge will feel good temporarily, the stain of what you did will last much longer and in ways you'd never expect, subconciously molding your self-opinion. Don't want your heart broken? Self-opinion/worth, baby! [Example:He thinks you're ugly. Is your time and are your emotional investments worth someone who walks around largely concerned with and thus occupied by attempting to pull down the self-worth of others and likes to see the well-being of others destroyed? Why? It sure as hell hasn't, because his is so high. The blistful gift of self-confidence would make him too distracted with happiness and excitement and the anxious desire to explore his own abilities and limits. You remember kindergarten, right? "They don't believe they are any good, and they don't think they can build themselves. Only other way to avoid feeling so lowly is to point out how others are below you (usually through faulty reasoning).

Good luck in finding out and doing what is right and best for you, your husband (who also needs help, and does probably still love you dearly, regardless of what he blurts out at you.) We've both because of culture and gender, just isn't as sensitive to words so probably doesn't realize how bad hes hurting you. Hope this helps anyone/as many as possible see where guys are coming from.

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A female reader, chocover United Kingdom +, writes (1 September 2010):

happily married for 17 years with 3 lovely children. The last bit is right but the rest is a sham. When we met travelling, life was just fun but my husband never grew up and now at 44 still wants fun without the responsibility. The more he carries on smoking, drinking, partying , skiving off work ( and its his own business) playing golf, lying about where he is,drinking, drinking and some more drinking...the more i can not stand being with him. We have been drifting apart for the last few years but he hasn't really noticed...its amazing how much alcohol reduces the libido and we haven't had sex for over two monthsand beore that it was about 3 months. i just want peace, happiness and no stress...how can i get him to leave. i am happy to sell the house and share the money but i don't think i can bear another week in the same vicinity. sometimes i feel so strong and each time he calls me fat or says that everyone hates me or calls me a pshyco i resolve to separate from him. but what if everyone does hate me really and i find myself truly alone?

my 14 year old daughter sides with him.....he takes her to concerts and festivals and lets her get away with murder, hence i am the bedtime bad guy, my boys are very different to him and their sister and also just want peace. i have just found out he has arranged tp play golf on sunday ( he is already playing on thursday and saturday ) when i am at work so now there is noone to take my son to his football match. i am so cross,,, i marched up to the pub and lost it with him infront of his ddrinking buddies. how do you get the strnght to end it all. i keep wishing he would die and then the situation would be sorted. how bad is it to think like that. he nearly did die two years ago as he was hit by a bus when he walked in to the road drunk.

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A female reader, Summer11 United States +, writes (5 August 2010):

I also understand what everyones is saying . I want to leave my husband of 19 years he has emotionally put me through so much that i feel nothing for him I want to explode if he so much as sits or looks at me ..deep down i feel sorry for him for not seeing how disgusted he has made me I have been respectful towards him and his family took care of his kids sacrificed my education my life fir this family but yet he still puts me down insults be and humiliates me by telling everyone that i dont give him attention .. Maybe if he didnt call me whore in front of our 3 girls I wouldnt hate him so much hes been so unreal on how he wants to drag me to the floor It will be tuff that i know but it is about time i make a move for myself ..there is nothing left for me in this marriage i gave but never got back The only thing i did get that are my world are my girls that will never change..now my question to myself how to leave? He is in denial refuses to understand we are done! I know if i tell him straight out he will break everything which he does during fights if i leave with the kids and serve him myself is that against the law? Dont knw i will be seeing a lawyer next week i hope please wish me luck i know i will need it ..xoxo best wishes to all

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A female reader, bellaboo United Kingdom +, writes (25 January 2010):

im actually goin through the same thing .i had a nervous breakdown 4 years ago ,my husband wasnt supportive at all he moans all the time,puts me down sometimes in front of the children .ive been with him 22 yrs ,i feel like i need to start having a life now ive found the strength to tell him its over but i feel so guilty he keeps beggin me ne will change .but he has had so many chances.im not in love with him anymore ,but im just constantly thinkin about him .how will hw cope etc .but my friends and family said i need to think about myself for a change.you will no when the time is right just be strong and go through with it ,you will find the strength ..

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (23 November 2009):

im going through something relatively similar. Ive been with my husband for 8 years and have a beautiful little boy but in august i found out that my husband was phoning gay sex sites, i was completely devastated and still am. He is telling me he is not gay but in hindsight the relationship between us has been broken for ages. ive learnt the most important thing is communication. Me and husband dont sleep in the same room anymore and i am so unhappy i want to leave but cant find the courage to do it. I have tried to give it a go but cannot get the idea of him being gay out of my head. Im ashamed of admitting the truth to my famly and all my friends that know say i have done nothing wrong! Im just upset that getting married for me meant for life, i wanted a happy family, good career and loving husband. My marriage is a sham. i think this is the ultimate betrayal im devastated, i see no future, i have the most beautiful son...now its just time to gather strength and admit that the marriage has broke down and go at it alone. Wish me luck x

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (16 November 2009):

im 19 an im married to a 44yr old..i want to leave him but im really scared like he has never hit me but he has made comments like if u leave i will go to jail..i dont love him anymore but i dont know if i have the strength to leave him my friends say that i should but i dont know wut to anymore..

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (12 November 2009):

We don't always know all the reasons why we are no longer happy with our husbands, which makes it difficult for us to leave them.

However, if you just don't feel happy enough and bored with your marriage, you are wasting your life and your health will ultimately suffer in the long run.

We can make the mistake by staying with our husbands for too long while unhappy, there fore it's much more difficult for us to make the decision to leave.

We need to find the confidence to spread our social lives and find other things to stimulate us, to help prevent us from being vulnerable.

This will ultimately make us stronger and confident in making the decision to leave our husband, remember for what ever the reason your unhappy in your marriage, weather it feels trivial or not it doesn't mean you have to accept it.

Some times we are just not happy any more and that's that, my best advice is leave him and get a new and happier life, it will be worth it in the long run and you will find yourself saying I wish I did it years ago, I know I have.

Good luck.

PS smile.

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (10 November 2009):

21 yrs. and 3 kids later and I'm still so scared to leave.. I will never make it. He never let me work or have access to any money. He even made me divorce him in July and sign over our house to him. I don't know what to do..... I think I'm stuck for life!!

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A female reader, Life Goes On United Kingdom +, writes (2 November 2009):

i have been married for 7 years now. Since our first year we have been struggling. There is not a single day gone past, when i dont regret marrying him. Especially while i m ironing. I have 2 beautiful girls. Ones 6 and other one is going to be 2. I love them both.

I have decided to leave my husband. I think i gave enough to make it work. But it doesnt seem to be working. He doesnt let me work. Doesnt help me in house work, spys on me, never encourages me. Im unhappy. and i have told him also. But nothing works. I feel im talkin to a wall.

I have decided, im goin to leave him. I just worry about my kids. It will effect them. But at the same time, i want to be a strong women. And also teach my girls to be strong. Not just a household maid. ...................

I hope i get the courage. In fact, his bad behaviour will make it easier for me to leave. And his family. Which i cook for, clean, feed them .............. attending their relatives ............... i m tired now. i want to have an independent life, and be what i am.

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A female reader, Julianah Uganda +, writes (20 September 2009):

I've been in love for 3 years, we lived in a very poor state. My boyfriend suggested to go U.S.A for work to change the status of living. In July last year, iwas 7 months pregnant, he left me and went. He used to communicate as required, i gave birth to a cute baby girl, he was very happy and named the baby Anitha. Unfortunately on 7th July this year the baby died. He used to call to confort me and he promised to come back very soon for a while after two months. He last called me on 23rd August and promised he was about to come. He left when i had got some work in Southern Sudan staying with my sister. I was given one and half months for leave after the baby's death. My leave got expired before he came. We communicated and asked him that i go back, I may be able to come back when he comes.

He again called me on third September, he call me and he was already in Uganda that he had been given only 4 days and he had to leave on 5th. I wondered how he did it to come without my knowledge yet he knew I was far.

I tried my best and went to meet him but i was not happy. After sometime I realised he that the guy was married with two kids. I'm now so confused i dont know what to do. I don't sleep at night. I'm always crying. he had promised to marry me soon after he gets some money. what should i do. I feel like leaving him

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A female reader, tiny70 United Kingdom +, writes (1 July 2009):

hi everyone i hate my husband but love him too he puts me down at any chance i want to go but dont no now how to go about it sorry but i dont no how to talk about this

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (4 April 2008):

I feel the same way you do, I just don't have the strength to leave him. I don't make enough money to pay for my own place and have no family or friends here, so I don't know where to go. On the other hand, I hate him because I know that he is going to be the sad eyed puppy when I leave him and have his family and friends spoil him and nurture him, while I am left to cry alone in this miserable exsistance of mine. He doesn't care about my feelings and he's a drug addict, so the only one he cares about is him. I don't have any children and we rent an apartment, but even though that should make it easier, it doesn't. He makes me feel that I am the fucked up one, but I am not, my only problem is that with his degrading coments and his neglecting attitude my self-esteem and my self-image are down the drain.

Do you have some advice for me?

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A reader, anonymous, writes (23 February 2008):

thats the question i would like answered only i love my husband but i cant trust him i think hes infatuated with someone else and it really hurts

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (18 February 2008):

I left my husband 6 weeks ago, on New Year's Day after 33 years of marriage. I had been unhappy for about 5 years, but it started prior to that when my 2 children left home. I had tried to talk to him about my feelings, and had managed to tell him I wasn't in love with him any more. This shocked him and I got the "but you're my wife" attitude. I had been suffering from "empty nest syndrome" for a while, also menopausal, my mother had been diagnosed with leukemia, and although he knew I was emotional about all these things, there was no support. Selfish isn't the word I'd use, but it's close. Unthinking is a better description. We hadn't been sleeping together for almost a year, and there were long long silences, no social life, early bedtimes for me, and complete and utter boredom. The worst part was the playing happy families in front of everyone else. There was no abuse or arguments - just a lot of sadness. Eventually, with an invisible suit of armour on, I came home from work and told him I thought we should divorce as I couldn't go on. I told him I was going to move out as I couldn't bear it there. He went into denial that we had anything wrong, and never once begged me to stay. He said he'd put his life into the house and complained that I would probably want half of it and he didn't want to sell it. That was 2 weeks before Christmas, and on New Year's Day, I moved out, to a flat I'd already sorted out. Leaving was easier than staying. I had a nice home with nice things, but in the end, the material things didn't matter when there was no relationship or life in that home. Six weeks on, I am much happier. It is difficult though not to think about his emotional state, and how he's coping when I've been there for 33 years looking after him. On a humourous note, he did ask me to show him how to use the washing machine before I left :) I still don't know what's going to happen about the house; all I do know is that I'm not going back and that eventually I will get my half of the house somehow.

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (9 February 2008):

I feel the same way, after 15 years of marriage 2 kids too think about, in my mind, internaly I have decided to leave my husband. I dont love him, cant kiss or have sex. I am so depressed and confused. I have become so numb that I feel like I am half alive. Why dont I leave; he makes the money, I live in a beautiful house, and have a very good material life for me and my kids (his kids.) Scared of the rumors and how this will effect my girls, and how I look to the same old same old group (small town). Selfish reasons only, but knowing has not enpowered me to do it. I have had an affair and still occasionally cheat. The question is if another man came into the picture: Would I cheat or have an affair again? YES So what can I do to get my children ready and fears?

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (4 April 2007):

I feel your pain. I have been married for 14 years, and together with my husband for 19 years total - over half my life. During the first 15 years of our relationship he was at times extremely emotionally abusive. I kept holding on, because I love him and I wanted to help him change. And I knew that he had a great heart. Finally last May, I had my 'last straw', I was sick of being on an emotional roller coaster, so I took my kids, and I got my own place. We were separated for 6 months, we had tried to date each other, and it was getting better. Seemed we were getting past some of the issues. In August we had a few fights, and I realized that it was never going to change, we'd never see eye to eye, and he'd always be a mean fighter. I said "that's it, I'm done", and we prepared to sell our house which he was still living in. But, then, he kept calling and emailing me, telling me he finally 'got it' and he had changed, and would give anything to have me back again. I relented. I thought I was doing the right thing. I wanted to give it another try. I broke the lease on my townhouse, and moved back in to our house, telling myself that I was doing the best thing, for everyone. At first it was great, I was happy to be back home, the kids were happy to have their family back together. But within a month or so, I just knew that I had gone back for everyone but me. Yes, I still love him dearly. And he has CHANGED! I know people say that people don't change, but he has. The problem is that I did too, all the years of conflict and emotional abuse made my love for him die. I still love and care about him. But I can't let go of the past, the scars are too deep and as much as I want to trust that he won't become that person again, part of me will not accept that. And so, now we are separating again. The house is up for sale. We are still living together. And it's so hard. He is so heart broken, and so am I. It's so hard to tell someone that you just don't love them that way anymore. It makes me physically ill. I know he will be ok, but he's not eating properly, or sleeping, and he's drinking too much to try and kill the pain. But he's going to be ok, it's just something he has to go through. We are being really good friends to each other, and that is good, but it makes it even harder to leave, and makes me second guess myself. I'm wondering now if I made a mistake, or if I'm just scared. Letting go of someone is never easy! I knew 3 weeks ago that I didn't want to be with him, and yet, now that the ball is in motion and we are going to be splitting up again, I'm starting to doubt myself. What if I made a mistake? I don't know if it's just fear that's making me second guess myself or what. I know if I met him TODAY and had never gone through all the past heartache, we would be great together. My advice to you is tread softly before you make up your mind to go. Make sure you are sure. Once you choose your path, things will work out. This phase of my life is the hardest yet. I don't really know for sure what my future will bring, and I'm scared of losing someone who has loved me for over half my life. He is so good now, and if he meets someone new, she is going to be a real lucky gal because he made all the bad mistakes with me, so she will reap the benefits of that. I know my husband loves me, and he is really good to me and our kids now. But the nails are in the fence so to speak, you can pull the nails out, but the holes are still there. Follow your heart. Spend time alone, write things down, let your thoughts flow out on paper, sometimes you will write pages and then have to go back and read them because you can't remember all you wrote. Ask for advice, but make your own decision, and don't make it until YOU are ready. Prayer helps too. Good luck to you. All the best.

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A female reader, Cateyes United States +, writes (29 March 2007):

Cateyes agony auntI wish you all the luck in the world and it sounds like you are going to be just fine!!!! You will get through this, it just takes time. As hard as if may be, stay strong and know we are an email away!!! Good Luck!!!

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A female reader, January Doll +, writes (28 March 2007):

January Doll is verified as being by the original poster of the question

I left on March 4th. I am living one place during the week and staying other places on the weekend. It is kind of a mess. My husband is begging me to come back, but I just can't. I know I can not go backwards, I am sure I will be able to make it on my own once we get past this part. I am going to be asking him for a Divorce tomorrow. I have told him several times I am not coming back but he is not listening to me. I am afraid, yet not at the same time. Since I left I have only had second thoughts one day, he quickly did something that made me feel I was justified the next day. So yes I am confident in my decision to leave. Now I just have to find away to say the Divorce word to him, I know that will be hard. I told him I could not give him anymore chances, and that I would not be coming back, that was hard, but I know saying I want a divorce will be even harder.

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A female reader, GEL United Kingdom +, writes (11 March 2007):

I have been married for 8 years and am so sick of his moods. My husband has turned into a miserable old man, constantly moaning about how rubbish his life is, I'm sure he's going through the male menopause. I really think it's time to get out, I don't want to spend the rest of my life with a moaning old man. We have a house that we rent out to our daughter so I have somewhere to go but I am really worried about the financial situation, he has made it impossible over the years for me to work, he is also constantly saying HE earns all the money etc, but I am trying really hard to find a job. The house I can go to is also in a mess and not really big enough for myself, my daughter and her partner and my son who is 17! I just don't know what to do for the best.....Please help.....

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A female reader, Cateyes United States +, writes (3 March 2007):

Cateyes agony auntBeen there and done that. It's extremely hard to get the "things" out of our head that someone has done to us. You really have to WANT to get them out and the desire to make it work with your spouse. I don't know what started your husbands depression, but HE has to want to get help and take med's if he has to. No one changes overnight, and when they try, it usually lasts for a short time. That has been my experience in that area and from others I know. It's to keep you hanging on. I will always say, I am not for divorce, but if YOU know you can't make it work, and YOU know, then it's time to move on. I agree, life should be spent with someone you really love. Good luck to you.

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (2 March 2007):

Maybe its not about 'courage' maybe its your conscious bothering you. You took marriage vows and your husband wants to work things out. You don't have the same feelings you once had. Thats understandable. But he wants to change don't you owe him that much, a chance to really try? By the way this is never a one way street. If you and he go to counseling and try to work things out you will find that you have a part in this too.

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A reader, anonymous, writes (2 March 2007):

Walking out the front door is one of the hardest things that you will have to do and yet one of the best. If your marriage is that bad then you need to make that walk. I know exactly what i am talking about, i did it after 20 years of marriage. I planned it in my head for over 5 years, until the kids got old enough to be able to make up their own minds about what they wanted to do. I waited too long, as it turned out, my kids wanted me to leave (with them) years earlier. My circumstances were horrendous, i was a battered wife, mental and physical.

But life is too short, don't hang around and wait for an excuse. His mental health should not be your responsibility. He is his own person and he has to get things sorted in that department.

If you want to get in touch, please feel free. But get the strength together, move out and the rest will be plain sailing.

Take care and i wish you well.

xx

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A female reader, chachacha United Kingdom +, writes (2 March 2007):

Well it does sound like you are sure, like it has just gone on for too long, and that you don't have feelings for him anymore. One thing to think about when you have another relationship is speaking up earlier to express your needs, not expecting the other person just to notice, so that you don't wait until it is too late for your partner to try to change.

In the meantime, start by telling all your close friends and family that the relationship is over - this will help check it is, rehearse why, and make it real. They will also make suggestions and one of them may offer to put you up during the difficult period - going to stay with friends, particularly if money is tight, can be very supportive.

Accept that moving out will be hard and don't rule out asking him to move out, if he has more money than you do. See a divorce lawyer to figure out what you are entitled to if you divorce. Talk to any friends who have had live in relationships split up before - they will be the most understanding.

The one thing you must NOT consider is his mental stability - that is NOT YOUR PROBLEM, it is HIS PROBLEM. You are responsible for you own mental stability and your own financial position. This is one of the hardest lessons in splitting up - realising that you can no longer provide comfort to the person you have supported psychologically for all these years.

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