They Had To Go To The Brink Of Divorce In Order To Save Themselves
“About 17 years ago, my husband and I gave birth to a son. He was my dream child, but I lost my focus on my husband and centered entirely on my son. My husband never said much about it.
I was so tired, too. All I wanted to do after working 10 hours was sleep. He had a job he hated and worked 10 hours a day as well.
We forgot to be in love. Period. I nagged a lot and he just ignored me. I caught him telling our problems to a stranger on the Internet. I asked for a divorce. It was around January. I said we would let my son finish the school year and I would leave in June.
After that, we coexisted as friends. We had been together for 16 years, so that wasn’t hard. Our parents knew we were divorcing and they didn’t understand because we were such good friends.
Around March, we were bored. We wanted to go out to dinner and a movie. I asked my mom to babysit. It was just as friends. I actually took the time to get ready. He did, too. We went to dinner and then the movie. By habit, I just grabbed his hand. He never said anything, but just stroked the back of my hand and never let go. We got back into the car. It was late, so we let our son stay overnight.
I don’t know what happened that night, but I felt something I had never felt before. I was holding on to my best friend and I wasn’t going to let go.
We went home and just held each other.
The divorce was never mentioned again. In my own head, I realized that I had to put him first. He needed me, too. I balanced my time and he learned to give me the reassurance that I needed to feel loved.
Later, I watched him sleep, with a 7-year-old between us, and I knew that our marriage is about as perfect as a marriage can be. We have both forgiven and accepted each other’s faults.
My son is getting married and his soon-to-be wife told him he wanted marriage just like his parents had. That told me everything I needed to know.
We had made it.”
“Even After Everything, I Don’t Want Anyone Else”
“My husband came home from Thailand in February and was just stone cold. I knew something was wrong, but every time I asked him what was wrong, he deflected and work was used as an excuse.
Maybe I’m crazy but a few days of that, and I had just had enough and needed to know. I wrote everything down in a letter and gave it to him before I went to bed. I knew he wasn’t open to talking, so I thought this was the best way to open a conversation.
He let me stew over it without saying a word for 24 hours until we sat down and immediately he mentioned divorce. I was completely shocked. This came out of left field. We were in an unhappy situation but I NEVER thought the unhappiness was between him and I. Something still just didn’t feel right.
I went to use an old laptop of ours to job hunt. I was terrified of what was to come and trying to plan frantically. I opened up Google Chrome and immediately was blasted with a million messages from another woman. They had met each other through my husband’s recent work trip to Thailand, for less than a month, and they were already talking about marriage and how much they loved each other. Of course, I was furious at both of them: her for knowing he is a married father of two young children, and him for knowing how much I have sacrificed for his benefit through our five years together.
He said some absolutely abhorrent things to me in an attempt to push me away and it worked. I went back to the US with our kids to try to figure out how to divorce him. Stupidly enough, I made a dumb decision after he told me she was gone for good (not through their own choices but her family’s), and I went back home to attend counseling and see if we could make things better. At this point, we moved back home and he went to the Philippines for a few weeks thanks to work. He got home and nothing was different. I didn’t recognize him at this point. The goofy man I once loved was stone cold, closed off, and treated me like dirt.
I found another Thai girl in his messages who also knew he was married but he convinced her he was going to divorce me. Then I found another girl, this one from the Philippines who messaged him about going to the place he was staying for some fun. The most disheartening was he did not tell her no or try to blow her off. That was my breaking point.
I called him in frustrated tears and told him he had two hours to purchase flights for myself and the two kids or I was going straight to someone bigger than him with the proof. He acted confused and I immediately poured everything out. Sobbing, breathless, our kids were next to me, crying with me. That was the point where he changed. He took counseling seriously. He set up new counseling on his own, read the entire ‘Five Love Language’ book on his own, and came to me with healthy discussion.
He genuinely seemed sorry. I am still trying to pick up my pieces and pick up our marriage pieces as well but now instead of handling it on my own, he is helping, too.
I’ll never truly know what it was or maybe it’s just that he’s scared of my crazy, but even after everything, I don’t want anyone else.”
She Almost Let Her Depression Ruin Their Relationship
“I had a terrible upbringing which led to me being a terrible young adult with no idea about how to be a good partner.
For years, I never lived up to being even 10 percent of the wife my husband deserved. After a really bad fight one weekend about six years in, he was done. My devastation was all-encompassing. I laid in bed for two days straight sobbing and wanting to die. He decided that he wanted to continue trying and when he told me, I fell to my knees sobbing. I don’t deserve him, but I am fighting every day to be the best wife I can be.
Things have been better in the year or so since then. I have sought treatment for my depression and started getting serious about taking responsibility for the things I have done wrong in our marriage, and I plan fun and interesting dates for us at least a few times a month.
We have worked on the friendship side of our relationship, and that has been game-changing. Overall, I am optimistic, but I still carry a lot of guilt for not treating him the way he deserved for so long.”
“We’re Not Perfect, But We’re Making It”
“Our marriage was a disaster. We were both still immature in several ways. Things got bad. There was lying, fighting, yelling, and verbal and psychological abuse. Divorce was used as a threat and so was custody of our kids.
My husband was having an emotional affair with his ex-wife. We reached a tipping point during an argument in which I was told my opinion was wrong, and I needed to change it or be gone within the week. I left the next day.
We fought more, we both filed for divorce. We had one hearing where we talked about custody with the judge. Time passed, my lawyer had everything ready to finalize it, and all it needed was my signature.
I opted not to have it filed and not to sign.
During the three years we were separated, we continued to talk on the phone. I let him see our kids as much as possible. We were hundreds of miles apart – 12 hours driving. My car would not have made the trip. His was in better condition. He may have been a terrible husband, but he’s always been a good dad. We talked and talked. We both sought therapy individually. We grew up.
Eventually, he moved back, and I moved back in. We’ve continued to work on our marriage so we never get to where we were.
As for right now? Things are okay. We’re not perfect, but we’re making it.”
Her Feelings For Women Just Wouldn’t Go Away
“I am bi and a lot more on the lesbian end of that spectrum than straight.
I was raised in a very religious setting, though, and grew up believing I was going to burn for my attraction to women, so I spent a long time trying to prove to myself and the world that I really was straight.
By the time I even admitted it to myself, I was married and had two kids. My husband was (and is) my best friend, but I wasn’t in love with him. I wrote in my journal about wanting a divorce so I could be with women and explore my feelings and emotional attraction to women, and mostly so I wouldn’t feel like I was living a lie.
My husband had his one and only really big prick moment and read that journal. We fought and argued and cried, and in the end, we agreed to give it another try as an open marriage. Then I could be with women AND stay with him, and he could see other women too.
That was 10 years ago, and now we have three children. Since then, I have truly fallen in love with him – just for me, ‘falling in love’ turned out to be a lot more about emotion than passion, and was a process that occurred over years.
We still technically have an open marriage, but neither of us uses that prerogative anymore. I couldn’t have asked for a better or happier relationship.”
“Both Of Us Had A Lot Of Growing To Do”
“My wife and I did go full divorce and have been remarried just shy of a year after a year apart.
We had a multitude of problems. She thought I was controlling, as did I with her. After our daughter was born, she had postpartum depression and it came out in the form being extremely mean to me and crazy perfectionism. I didn’t have the tools to deal with it, so I shut her out and it spiraled out of control from there. After a year apart, we both realized what each person had been contributing to each other’s lives and talked it out.
Both of us had a lot of growing to do. We’re doing much better.”
“I’m Not Doing This Alone”
“We had two kids in diapers and we were working opposite schedules so that we could care for them without resorting to daycare.
He called me at work to say we were both not happy, we should separate, and, without any emotional tears or anything, I said I’m not doing this alone, so get over yourself. Then I hung up the phone.
Tomorrow is our 30th anniversary, the kids are grown and successful, and we love each other more than we ever have.”
There Was A Simple Solution To All Their Problems
“With me, it was as simple as quitting drinking. My go-to was half a bottle of Jack every night. I couldn’t see what my wife was getting all worked up about.
Then something changed and I quit drinking. Around the same time, almost every single problem with my wife just seemed to clear up. I stopped being a wasted prick all the time and she mysteriously stopped being so uptight.
It must have been some kind of coincidence.”
They Were Almost Willing To Throw It All Away
“I’ve been married for almost 10 years. During that time, I have almost lost my marriage twice due to my instability and crazy mood swings.
I was cycling between mania and depression about seven years ago and my husband was stressed out dealing with me, a bad church situation as a preacher, and two jobs. We were strained and we were so close to just giving up. We pretty much were roommates for a few months then he got a job opportunity in another state, which took stress off of him, and my mood settled down. We thought all was well. I was controlling my moods as best I could without a diagnosis.
Five years ago, after we moved to a new state, I was working, he was working, and we hardly saw each other which caused my mood and health to decline again. I took it out on him by distancing myself, staying with my family, and just being downright mean to him. We were within weeks of divorce again, and I got a tip to go to a doctor, get checked out, and then see a therapist. I saw a doctor, got a diagnosis of bipolar disorder, and started medication and therapy. I also was dealing with seizures of unknown origin and once I got my diagnosis and started therapy, I was given tips on how to manage my mood swings and how to rebuild our marriage. A month after I started all of the medication, I got my seizures under control. Then I found out I was pregnant despite receiving an infertility diagnosis.
My husband and I focused on rebuilding our relationship and focusing on being husband and wife and becoming parents. It took a lot of hard work on both of our parts and tons of soul searching, but we made it through it.
Now we are stronger than ever. It’s absolutely amazing how far we’ve come in almost 10 years of marriage. We made it and we work together. He’s my accountability partner making sure my meds are taken daily and checks in after my appointments.
It’s wonderful looking back how much we almost gave up.”
And They Thought Leaving The Church Was Going To Be The Tough Part
“My wife and I were raised very religious (Mormon) and married at a young age. She was 18, and I was 22. We spent the first 14 years of our marriage super Mormon but ended up leaving the church together after discovering a bunch of lies and cover-ups.
The thing about high control religions is that you never really feel like your life is your own, but you don’t realize it until you’re out. Most people go on some type of rebellious streak…drinking, tattoos, etc. It’s kind of this phase of taking your life back after realizing it wasn’t really yours because, at some point, you had given it to the church.
My wife ended up having an affair with a Mormon co-worker. There was a lot that played into this besides just leaving the church, including failures on my part of the marriage. Part of it was curiosity because she had never been with anybody but me, and felt that she never had a chance because we married so young.
She quit her job one day and, in an effort to save our marriage, confessed the whole thing to me. We were so close to divorce but went to a lot of therapy and slowly things got better. The whole thing was like pushing the reset button on our relationship, and we both got to make the choice to play again. Now we both know we’re together because we want to be and we could leave at any time.
There’s a certain beauty to knowing your partner could leave at any time, but they’re here because they want to be.”
Who Knew Surgery Would Save Their Marriage
“I had surgery. I know it sounds weird. I’m a female, make the most money and work the most. My husband also works but has very few skills and smokes weed a lot because of back pain, so any time he DOES get an interview for something better, they test and he doesn’t get the job.
We also have a son with autism. We aren’t having more kids. When my son turned 8 years old, I got my tubes removed. Every day is exhausting and honestly, neither of us were happy. I never wanted to be intimate because I was tired and he wanted it all the time. He snapped about everything and I shut down about everything. We had our 10-year anniversary and I knew I wanted a divorce.
I had my chest reduced because of pain issues that were affecting my work. That surgery is serious stuff. I prepared to have to go to my recovery with no help. I was delusional. I was a mess afterward. I didn’t want to ask him for help at all.
He turned into a different person. He helped me in the bathroom, took me in the shower to help me, drove me to all of my appointments, made me food, checked on me every 20 minutes. Never once did he get impatient with me.
Four weeks after my surgery, I felt really lovely from my surgery. I was in a good mood, I liked how I looked in the mirror. I asked him if he liked how I looked. He looked like a dog staring at a treat. I told him I wanted to be intimate for the first time in forever.
Ever since then, things are TOTALLY different. I don’t know exactly what happened. Maybe him realizing that attention matters to me and showing care, and I realized I needed to give up control. Now we make a little date time. We hook up a few times a week when it used to be about once a month. We laugh with each other. I talk to him when I’m frustrated instead of trying to solve everything by myself.
It’s pretty awesome.”
The Secret To Their Success
“Over the course of 20 years, the relationship became more and more emotionally abusive, which I didn’t recognize until I saw a psychologist.
She helped me and also suggested that my husband was suffering from depression. A very serious ultimatum forced him to get psychiatric help, but it took a few years to find the right doctor, get him on the right meds, and for us both to understand our roles in the messed up relationship we were in, and to learn to communicate effectively.
Around seven or eight years later, I can honestly say we are happy together. I would never advise anyone to stay in an abusive relationship, but if you can’t leave, at least get professional help.”
Miracles Never Come Easy
“My wife and I got married fairly quickly. We both didn’t have a great upbringing, we didn’t have an idea of what a healthy relationship should look like, and both of us had abusive relationships in the past.
I was unable to effectively communicate my feelings to her. She always thought that she needed to prepare for the worst. So when we would have an argument, I would shut down. She would reach out to ex-boyfriends looking for reassurance. I found out about her talking to other men several times. The last time, I had had enough. I told her I wanted a divorce. She asked me to go to counseling with her.
The first session was a train wreck. I almost left her that night and she thought we weren’t going to make it.
After a few sessions and some tough conversations, we learned to communicate. I learned to open up. She learned that her behavior was destructive.
It wasn’t easy to overcome, and I would say it’s a miracle that we’re still together.”
Sometimes It Takes A Little Company To Shake Things Up
“She had a job that was taking 60 hours a week, plus up to four hours of commuting per day. I had undiagnosed depression and bipolar. We were both in bad places.
I moved out for a year and started seeing a therapist. Got on an effective combination of medications. This all helped me realize how removed from the relationship I’d been. I started focusing more on her and doing things like going on dates. Simultaneously, she started drifting away from that job and eventually quit. After numerous discussions, we determined that we were both ok with being primaries but having an open relationship. There are things that other people can provide that each of us can’t.
This took a few years overall, but I moved back in after a year, she changed jobs to a field she loves with a much smaller commute. We each have people on the side for both emotional and physical needs. We’re in a much better place now.”
It Took The Possibility Of Cancer To Bring Them Back Together
“I struggle with physical affection. I am verbally affectionate, but for my husband, it wasn’t enough. This wasn’t the cause, but an instigator.
My husband has bipolar/depression with compartmentalization syndrome. For a very long time, he refused to admit he needed help.
We had many up and downs during the beginning of the marriage but always kept trying. He finally had a full breakdown and admitted himself to a mental facility. When he got out, things were amazing, he was getting treatment for most of his illness, except the depression. He lost his job, it was only me working, and he was home with our son doing nothing. He found a woman online. I found out and he told me he didn’t love me anymore.
I didn’t kick him out. He had nowhere to go, no job, no money. We had a child and he needed to be in his life. I made him move into our guest room and I lived in a state where there isn’t any legal separation per the courts, so we made our own agreement.
Obviously, the online thing went nowhere and I told him flat out: no dating until he moved out. I was not going to pay for him to sleep around on my dollar. We treated each other as roommates.
Then July of 2016. We found a mass on my ovary. We initially thought it might have been cancer, but luckily it wasn’t. But the scare made me realize a lot about myself. How I didn’t treat him like the love of my life. How being affectionate wasn’t just hooking up and there was more I could do than just say, ‘I love you.’
The scare also kicked him into gear. He worked harder with his therapist, realized he did love me and learned it was his depression going untreated that was a huge cloud on his emotions.
So we started slow. Dating again from square one. Two years later, we are doing great. I am way more affectionate, he is way more verbal with what is going on in his head, and we still ‘date.'”