I know it's time to leave my husband. But what's my first step? Details inside.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (24 answers total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
After a long, complicated 10 years, I know my relationship with my husband has run its course. He knows this, too, and we've discussed separating, but he sees hope and wants to work on the relationship, while I believe we've worked enough. What this means is that I will have to organize and take the initiative for our separation. He won't fight me, but he won't help. My problem is I don't know where to start.
-Not much of anything joint besides our house. No bank accounts, no vehicles. We've kept our property mostly separate, and there's nothing material we would fight over. (However, I'm aware that break-ups can bring out the worst in people, so I'm prepared to contact a lawyer when the time comes.)
-We own a house. I'm not attached to our house or neighborhood, and feel fine moving out. However, our house value has plummeted, and selling would be a terrible loss we couldn't afford (we've only been here 2 years). My husband could not afford the house on his own, though I believe he would consider a roommate situation. If he decides to stay in the house, I would plan to help with the mortgage for as long as I could, but that would put a serious dent in my finances if I had to pay for our mortgage and the new place I end up in. Though I make twice as much as my husband, I'm not sure I could afford this.
-We have two dogs and a cat we love dearly. So dearly that I'm pretty sure our animals are what have kept us together the past few years. (I know this sounds silly, but without kids - these are our kids!) I have no idea how we would begin to divide custody of our animals. My concern with moving out is that I'll temporarily be away from the animals while I settle (I don't want any of them to move with me until I have at least a semi-permanent place), which will make figuring out our custody more difficult. (Our animals are indifferent to each other, and would be fine splitting up.) I've been the primary caretaker for our animals, but I know he loves them just as much as I do. This would be the one issue that could make our separation very, very emotional and ugly.
-I don't know where to go, even temporarily. My family lives out-of-state and I can't stay with them because my job is here. (Because of my parents' current living situation, I wouldn't even be able to visit.)
Unfortunately, I'm very much a loner, which has always worked just fine for me, but now the few friends I have either a) have no space (think studio apartments) or b) have very hectic lives that include small children. My closest friend (with two small children she stays home with) would most likely house me for a week or so, but I would be a huge imposition for her and her family who have very little space, and a lot of chaos. (She would never say so, but I would be majorly in the way.)
-I don't have money saved to put a deposit on an apartment, or pay mortgage + new rent. I've been paying down debt. My debt is almost paid, but all my money has gone to that. I could stop paying the debt, and have enough saved for a couple months rent + mortgage, but that would take two or three months. I'm willing to wait, but it seems so unfair to my husband that I've mentally made this decision, and now I'm just waiting for enough funds to leave. I've been supplementing my parents' income for the past six months, so they wouldn't be able to help.
-The fears: my husband and I love each other dearly. We're best friends. We've never tired of each other and there's no infidelity. We simply cannot get along on a daily basis, and both of our souls are crushed trying to fit ourselves into a relationship that doesn't work for either of us. Because of the loner status, I fear that if I leave, I'll have no one in the world. He has a huge, local extended family who have become like my own. My parents are elderly, and not long for this world. This is not enough of a reason to stay - but something that holds me back and keeps me from taking the first step.
-I have health problems that, even when under control, can cause severe fatigue and pain. On bad health days, I can't imagine getting the energy to make all of these plans, which is frightening to me. I don't want to think that I'm too sick to remove myself from a situation I don't want to be in, but sometimes I fear that's the case.
-I've tried to talk to my husband rationally about this, but he doesn't want us to break up, so of course he doesn't want to discuss break up details. I don't blame him - this is very, very sad. However, I know if I had a plan in place and directed that plan, he would comply.
The question: Where do I start? Do I wait until I have money saved up? Do I look for a place first? Do I figure out, in detail, our pet situation? I feel lost, and I don't know what the first step is. I know this is the right thing to do (so I'm not looking for confirmation or questions about decision), but I don't know where to begin. I appreciate any insight or direction you can provide.
Other relevant details: We're a heterosexual couple in our 30s in Minnesota.