Days ago, my husband told our two children and me that he wants a divorce. He met someone online, kept contact over three years, and it’s become serious.
He plans to move to the US and be with her. That’s the only information I have.
I’m flabbergasted. Neither of us has been happy for several years, but we were co-parenting together and I thought that was enough. Apparently not for him!
How do I handle this? I don’t know where to even start legally, or how to deal with this emotionally. How can I be there for my two children?
Talk to him. It may be very tough, he may insist he has nothing more to say, but that’s wrong. You need to know what he plans regarding the children – joint custody, having them visit him in the US regularly, plans re: funding their education, etc.
Don’t argue; just listen. It’s important to find out whether he’s thought this through rationally or he’s reacting to an emotional whirlwind. If he sounds vague or hesitant, ask if he’ll consider joint counselling with you before rushing a divorce.
If not, get legally informed. What matters immediately is knowing what responsibilities and rights you both have regarding the children.
Research an online legal website regarding your jurisdiction. Then choose a lawyer - not the same one as his, not a mutual friend, but someone with a reputation for getting things done in a timely way.
Then, get up-to-date on the financial situation between you two – any joint bank account, savings, assets, your home’s value, etc. Your lawyer will advise you more thoroughly.
Meanwhile, keep a steady hand on your mental/emotional state by 1) Reassuring your children that they are loved by both of you, despite their father’s announcement. 2) Get counselling for yourself to have professional guidance during these days leading up to final negotiations.
And, 3) Keep close contact only with family/friends who are loving and supportive. Avoid those who just love a drama and gossip. You need only trusted people who provide comfort and understanding.
My 11-year marriage (with two kids) isn’t perfect. But we’re both committed to do better all the time. My husband and I are from two different cultures.
We started with a good relationship with his two sisters but when my son was born, they started rejecting us, increasingly.
They’d decline our invitations or cancel plans with us.
One sister-in-law is our neighbour. Twice we were going to visit them with previous notice, but they left the house before we got there.
When I ask why we’re never included, they say "we didn't think about you." If I have to be in their presence (e.g. a wedding) I feel invisible and angry.
They like drinking and being drunk. I don't. We’re trying to stay polite but it's getting harder. Should I cut the relationship completely?
My husband thinks we should just keep going this way and not create conflicts.
Sad being Ignored by Family
You’re not the ones creating conflicts - his sisters have started that through rudeness.
But cutting ties completely would make the divide open in an ugly way.
It’s important that you and your husband are working this out together - the best way to not let it affect your marriage is to lower your expectations of these women.
Be polite when you see them, enjoy family contacts on your side, and when possible, build close trusting friendships that serve as almost-family.
Reader’s Commentary Regarding two bullying employees who are harassing a co-worker (Nov.1):
“My past co-worker – “C” - was difficult. Other co-workers and one of my bosses agreed. C could go from nasty to nice or reverse in a second. She’d be rude to me when I was polite to her.
“One co-worker quit because she couldn't stand working with C. We worked in a school building and C, along with two of our other co-workers, called some female students lesbians.
“The last straw for me was when C made a slanderous comment about me and a male co-worker (my lawyer confirmed it was slander.) It made me extra angry because the man was then-married to his terminally-ill wife.
“I reported the incident to one of my bosses who smiled and dismissed the complaint. Only when C bad-mouthed two supervisors and the bosses got one more complaint, did C get let go.”
Tip of the day:
Threatened divorce? Ask questions, then get legal advice, individual counselling and personal support.