How to end a marriage with as little devastation as possible...
September 6, 2012 12:54 PM Subscribe
Question for a friend: How to end a marriage in the "best" way possible? Looking for useful advice from people who have been through it. Many details inside.
posted by saturn~jupiter to Human Relations (36 answers total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
I have decided to end my marriage. I know it is going to be very difficult and messy and extremely traumatic for my wife. My question is: what is the best way to go about it? The details are:
- My wife and I have been together for about 5 years and married for 3.
-I no longer love my wife (assuming I ever did, but that's another conversation). About a year into the relationship I started having periods where I didn't feel in love with her, initially they lasted a day or so and were infrequent (eg six months apart), but over the years became
more frequent and lasted longer, and now for the last 9 months or so I have not felt it at all. After it happened the first few times (lasting a day or two) I talked to friends, and it sounded like it was probably normal and nothing to worry about so I stayed with her because although I had a few doubts, the relationship otherwise seemed worth it. We subsequently
- We have two children, one aged several months and one 2 years. (yes, people have said that children are a great way of removing romance etc from a relationship. This is not it. It has nothing to do with my wife becoming a mother and being less attractive to me, or me getting less attention from her, or anything like that.).
- My feelings about this are not going to change as I can see now that we have irreconcilable differences.
- My wife still loves me.
- We generally have a fairly good companionship kind of relationship at the moment.
- She has noticed my apparent lack of love; we've had conversations where she's explicitly asked me if I still love her. On these occasions I have lied to her or tried to avoid answering out of fear of hurting her, and wanting to avoid devastation. But I have decided I can no longer live inauthentically and need to be straight with her.
- So I decided about 6 months ago that I should end it, but have not wanted to end it while she was pregnant with our second child, or immediately afterwards. I have been waiting until our second child is 3 months old, as things will have settled down somewhat by then, but my wife will still have 2 to 3 months of maternity leave left (giving her some time to get herself together before she goes back to work part-time (of course, more than 2 to 3 months might have been better, but this time seems the least worst in the trade-off between time since birth of second child and end of maternity leave)).
- I suspect she will be very upset and angry.
- I am not leaving her for another woman. I am leaving because I am unhappy.
So far my main thoughts on the best way to go about it are:
- Be honest with how my feelings have changed, ie talk about the intermittent and then extended periods of not feeling (romantic) love, just friendship/companionship. Tell her that I can't continue, and that it wouldn't be fair to her to do so.
- Don't allow room for her to think that my feelings/mind might change.
- Try to be as gentle with the truth as possible (tricky).
- Avoid getting into a discussion of things I dislike about her or our relationship (would be interested in thoughts on this...)
- My intention is to move out of the house we currently own (mortgage), and provide enough financial assistance to allow my wife to continue living there (I'm currently a PhD student on a scholarship but can also work part-time to provide enough income for this).
- At the moment I get up in the mornings to look after both children before going to work then look after both of them again when I get home, and I look after them most of the weekend. I'd like to continue doing this (ie I'd go over in the morning and the afternoon to look after them (and/or take them to my place) and same on the weekends. I can't imagine this happening smoothly immediately as I think my wife will be very upset and angry, but I hope this could start happening a few weeks after I leave.
- I am very upset about how upset I expect she will be, and the possible negative impacts it may have on our children, and just want to do it in the least painful way possible.
If the above dot-points sound a bit detached it's only because I'm trying to stick to the facts and not write long stories.
I'm mostly interested in advice from other people who have been in the same or similar situations:
- What do you think you did right, what do you regret, what would you have done differently in hindsight?
- If you were on the receiving end of such a break-up, what do you wish your partner had done or not done?
I'm not interested in people judging me or telling me how awful I am (I feel awful enough already).
Thanks in advance for any useful advice, it's very much appreciated...