"She's a therapist, he's a comic, and they're a couple."
Hi Pamela and Todd,
I need help. My husband of two years recently moved out. We've been together seven years and have been through quite a lot in those years. We've been through everything from high school graduations, college graduations and the death of beloved family members. Did I forget to mention that he also filed for divorce? I was blindsided by his filling because I figured we would take some time apart and slowly but surely put things back together.
Now that I've finally filed my "answer" with the court, he tells me that he wants to spend more time together! He says he wants to see if we have a shot because we've been through so much, yet he won't stop the divorce proceedings. I'm not sure if I should continue to try and make my marriage work when the option of divorce is still looming in the background. Am I getting my hopes up or should I continue to try until the ink on the paper is dry?
I really do love this man and everything is telling me that divorce is the wrong path. Both of our families say we should work it out because the love is still there. Don't get me wrong, we both know we could have acted better before things fell apart and are working to make those things better, yet he won't stop the proceedings. It is to the point where I don't even know where he is living; I know the apartment complex, but he doesn't want me to see the apartment or even go stay with him... I'm so lost... Should I stay or should I go?
Lost and Confused
Dear Lost and Confused,
Go! Go fast! No faster! I said run, damn it! Just don't run toward your soon-to-be-ex-husband's place. He doesn't want you there. I have no idea why he doesn't want you to see his home. Best case scenario he has empty pizza boxes in the bedroom, worst case he's stacking bodies of Cub Scouts in his basement like cord wood.
Who wants to be with someone you have to convince to be with you? It's like a 7th grade dance all over again. Fighting for a marriage is noble and right, but you need two people fighting, not one.
You might love this guy, but that doesn't mean he's good for you. I love Apple Cinnamon Pop-Tarts but 10 pounds later, we had to say goodbye.
Something is motivating him to keep moving forward with the divorce and whatever it is, it's more important than you and your wants. Ask him. And if he says anything about "always being prepared, like a good Boy Scout," I hope you keep running and never look back.
Dear Lost and Confused,
As with most matters of the heart, your situation sounds very challenging and unfortunately there is rarely an easy answer. However, my main concern is communication. Have you actually asked him why he is unwilling to stop the divorce proceedings? Or why if he wants to work on the relationship, is he still pursuing divorce? Have you asked why he won't let you see where he lives? If I were in your shoes, I would want more information before I made a decision as to how I want to proceed.
I'm also very curious as to what is going on with you. How could you "have acted better before things fell apart" and how are you "working to make those things better?" Most importantly, why are you willing to continue to try? Of course I know the answer is because you love him and you want to keep your family together. However, I would challenge you to really look at what it is that you are getting out of continuing to try to make a relationship work with someone who left and filed for divorce.
It sounds like it might be time to bring in a third party for help with communication, such as a therapist, spiritual counselor or mediator. Someone who can listen to both sides and perhaps whom you can both be honest with about what you want for the future of this relationship.
It is hard to end a relationship, particularly when we have so much history with that person. I do believe however, being in this in-between place is even harder. Not being able to move forward with this relationship or let go and move on can be very painful.
My suggestions would be to stay focused on what is the most loving thing you can do for yourself and how you can take care of yourself during this challenging time.
Pamela Georgette, LMFT, ATR
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