Is it already over?
March 1, 2011 1:20 PM   Subscribe

My husband treated me unfairly for a long time, I got emotionally set to divorce and ... now he's doing all the right things. Internet, is it already over?

I spent most of our relationship (married two and a half years, dating for three before that) feeling terrible, complaining to him about him being distant emotionally and uncaring about my life and interests. He also criticized me in many ways I found hurtful but that he felt were constructive. My complaining/unwillingness to change quickly made him annoyed and tired, which made him more distant. We were locked in a cycle where I antagonized him to get attention and he was ... annoyed by that.

Fair enough! Definitely! So I guess gradually I started not to rely on him for emotional support, physical presence at events, etc. And we kept fighting when we'd see each other between demanding work schedules.

It got so bad that over the holidays we said the word divorce. I figured it was over and started kind of accepting it and trying to find the good in it. But as that was happening for me, he went through some crisis and realized what he would lose if I were gone and that he was the one who could break the cycle of distant/sad/distant.

Since then, he's been making me elaborate meals, buying me flowers, taking me out, planning surprises, taking interest in my hobbies and ... doing everything I begged him to do for years! Of course, that's not the end of the story.

This new effort, I should have been thrilled about? It doesn't feel right to me.

I told him I was "out of love," but that we could work on it, and maybe have a normal marriage again. He's been ... clingy (understandable!), and kind of pushy in the bedroom area (like, I felt like I was divorcing this guy! I am not excited to immediately jump back in bed!) and really, really emotional. ... like I used to be.

I know that if we weren't married it would have been over a long time ago. I feel like when he said "divorce," I checked out.

I want things to work, not least because I care a lot about my husband and because the making of vows was meaningful to me. But how long can I wait to feel love again -- when I'm not sure I ever really felt it? How do I learn to share my life with someone who always wanted to live independently from me? How can I trust such a huge 180 change?

I know that the Right and Proper thing to do would be to suck it up and honor my marriage vows, forgive him and try to will myself to have kind feelings for him besides "please don't be mad at me." To wait until I have butterflies and rainbows and want to involve him in my life rather than trying to keep him out of it as much as I can in order to protect my emotions -- just in case.

But the waiting is killing him, and it's making me sadder and tired-er and associating him even more with sadness and tiredness to me. Should I stick this out? Is this a rough period I can expect in a marriage? Or is it already over?

Thank you mefi! anonforaday-at-gee-mail
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (40 answers total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
Sounds to me like all this guy cares about is his own emotional state. When he was annoyed, he pushed you to change so he wouldn't be annoyed. Now that he's scared, he's pushing you to fall back in love with him so he won't be scared anymore. Guaranteed this goes right back to the way things were the minute he feels his emotional crisis is over.
posted by spicynuts at 1:23 PM on March 1, 2011 [33 favorites]

Do you have the ability to take a little vacation? If you don't have the ability to take a little vacation, do you have a friend whose attic you can sleep in for a couple of weeks? I would try to make myself scarce, and then sort out whether I was sitting there with 'I miss him, part of me is not right' pangs, or if I was going to sit around and think 'Maybe I'll be lucky, he'll meet somebody else, and I'll be easily free of the miserable @#$*.' See which direction you point in, and build on that.
posted by kmennie at 1:26 PM on March 1, 2011 [4 favorites]

It's possible he's turned around. It's also possible that he's doing just enough to keep you there. I stayed for 3 years longer than I should have because my ex-husband would make a huge change in how he treated me, until he felt like I'd lost my resolve to leave, and then would drop the act.

Unfortunately, I can't tell you which your husband is doing. I'm a big fan of trusting your instincts on whether or not it feels right.

On preview, I really like the idea of getting time away from him to sort out what you are feeling about the whole thing.
posted by Zophi at 1:29 PM on March 1, 2011 [6 favorites]

most of the time, quick turnarounds like this are manipulators doing what they need to do to maintain the status quo. not always, but usually...

i had an ex that would cheat on me, emotionally and physically, i would threaten to leave, i wouldn't, he'd promise change, he wouldn't. finally, one time i said "i can't tell you that i'm leaving you because we both know that's a hollow promise. what i can promise is that one of these times i'm going to be all out of forgiveness and you probably won't even see it coming." and i did and he didn't. i wish i had left him years earlier, but i never regretted leaving when i did.

the big difference is that it was an ex-boyfriend, not husband. i would probably give it a go in counseling before i pulled the plug, just because at one point you decided all of his faults didn't outweigh all of his good. it might be worth it to remind yourself why that was before you cut tail and run.

on preview - counseling and physical separation might be just what you need to sort it all out.
posted by nadawi at 1:30 PM on March 1, 2011 [5 favorites]

I don't have a problem with divorce, and it is often the best option when you've really tried to honor your commitment and save your marriage, but it doesn't sound like the two of you have tried. Or rather, you tried in Round 1, and he's trying in Round 2, but you've never tried together. This is what couples therapy is for. I do not believe you can say you've really tried to save your marriage unless you've tried everything, including professional help. And FWIW, therapy is much, much cheaper than divorce.
posted by DarlingBri at 1:32 PM on March 1, 2011 [26 favorites]

Nthing spicynuts. If your gut tells you there is something hinky in his efforts, I concur.

This kind of 180 usually doesn't last without the person doing additional self-work.

You left that part out, so I assume he's not seeking counseling, reading self-help books, and/or picking up a meditation practice to help himself look within.

Keep quietly making your plans and go when you are ready.

If you are not in love anymore... I've been there. I don't think love comes back, especially when emotional or physical abuse is involved. Thank god.
posted by jbenben at 1:33 PM on March 1, 2011 [3 favorites]

Separate, move out and go to a marriage counselor together. If you're not able to overcome it, well you're only human.

My ex-husband and I had a great time dating and things fell apart right after we got married. After having my heart utterly broken by this man and the way he treated me, I had no love left for him. But we tried to work it out, things seemed to improve, but that sense of initial betrayal was so strong that it never became more than "good friends" anymore, I had no love for him anymore, and I resented him in little seething ways. I left him then.

My ex-boyfriend of a year and a half wasn't much of a charmer until after I broke up with him and told him the various reasons why. Three months after we broke up, he cooked for me for the first time in hopes of winning me over. That sense of "so you had it in you, you were able to do this all along, and yet you didn't" was so unappetizing it sealed my resolve to not get back with him despite his "change".
posted by lizbunny at 1:33 PM on March 1, 2011 [23 favorites]

There are so many factors here, I can't even begin to decide for you. Your relative ages, your individual personalities, your relationship together, whether or not you have children (I assume not, since you didn't mention them), how you met, your medical history, his medical history. Every complex intimate detail of your lives is a factor that we don't know but you need to take into consideration.

If it helps, however, I can tell you my story. I was in a position very much like your husband's the details are complicated, and there's plenty of blame to go around for both people, so I won't get into that. But I sympathize with your husband's emotional state. I definitely went through that process of not trying hard enough, and then trying too hard.

When my wife left, it was without a doubt the worst thing that ever happened. My world was completely shattered. It took me a very long time to recover from that. But recover I did. I can't say that my ex-wife made a good decision, she did make a decision that turned out better for both of us than the alternative. I am a better, stronger person because of what happened, and I am in a better happier place in my life now. I wish our divorce never happened, but I'm also glad it did.

What it comes down to, really, is that in a choice between desperately trying over and over to salvage a loveless marriage, and a chance to find true happiness, I'd rather go through the divorce. It didn't seem that way at the time, but I've learned from the experience.

Your situation may be different. Choose carefully. Don't ask us to choose for you. We don't know enough.
posted by yeolcoatl at 1:38 PM on March 1, 2011 [2 favorites]

I'm chiming in to agree with Spicynuts. But more importantly - it sounds like you have moved on already, and trying to deny that you've moved on isn't working for you. When I decided to end my previous marriage, it was like a door closed in my head, and *nothing* that happened after that could have made me go back. Your post sounds a lot like where I was when it all went down, including the last ditch effort from the ex to try and make it all better.
posted by routergirl at 1:42 PM on March 1, 2011 [5 favorites]

This sounds manipulative. It might not be...but it is, really. I know many people (myself, included) who were in relationships with uncaring, selfish, distant, ambivalent, and/or even abusive, men who pulled a last-minute 180 in an attempt to keep their girlfriend or wife from leaving, only to revert back to old behaviors once he realized she wouldn't.

I have seen one exception to this, but he really and genuinely demonstrated a desire to work on both himself and the relationship. So, he went beyond buying flowers and planning surprises. He went to individual therapy and couples therapy, then later started working with a support group, in addition to starting volunteer efforts and making very active steps to improve how he behaves in all his relationships, because he knew that would make him better at his most important one - the one with his wife.
posted by vivid postcard at 1:42 PM on March 1, 2011 [6 favorites]

I agree with everyone else here. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.

Plus, even if he has really changed, do you want to be with him anymore?
posted by easy, lucky, free at 1:45 PM on March 1, 2011

He also criticized me in many ways I found hurtful but that he felt were constructive. My complaining/unwillingness to change quickly made him annoyed and tired, which made him more distant.

This reads as though you complained about him hurting you, and that made him "annoyed and tired". In the context of the paragraph, it reads like you don't see that as fucked up. In fact, it reads like it's part of the "cycle" which you conclude with "Fair enough." I'm gonna say, it's FUCKED. UP.

There are a lot of non-productive reactions a person can have to "stop that, it hurts": they can be defensive, angry, frightened, confused. . . I'm sure the list goes one. But "annoyed and tired" reads less like an emotional reaction to me, and more like "oh, god, are we talking about you again?"

I suspect he said "divorce" to scare you into line, and he started to fall apart when you failed to fall apart.
posted by endless_forms at 1:45 PM on March 1, 2011 [14 favorites]

If he really were a total tool, I don't think he could pull a 180 for more than a week or two. Two months?...maybe there really is some change going on. AMF is littered with folk who would love if their spouse did what your spouse is doing. Give it a little longer...
posted by teg4rvn at 1:46 PM on March 1, 2011 [2 favorites]

I'm not sure why people are so quick to jump on the word "abuse" here. I don't see abuse. I see things that could definitely be signs of an emotionally abusive relationship, but could also be signs of two people just having very different ways of communicating. We simply don't know enough. I'm not willing to leap on the blame wagon on the basis of only one side of the story, especially when that side of the story is much more charitable than the responses are.

Maybe he is abusive, maybe he's not. But I don't think we should be making that call for her without evidence that's a lot stronger than what is in the original post.
posted by yeolcoatl at 1:49 PM on March 1, 2011

I know that the Right and Proper thing to do would be to suck it up and honor my marriage vows

This is a phrase oft used by people in abusive relationships. I'm NOT saying that you're in one, just that this can be a warning sign.

But honey, you should never have to 'suck it up'. If you're not sure you're in love with him, but want to see if things really can work out, then let's hop on the MeFi Standard and say get a counselor. That'll help figure out what you want and are doing, what he wants and is doing, and how the two of you might mesh back together (or part ways more amiably).
posted by Heretical at 2:30 PM on March 1, 2011

I believe you cannot trust a huge 180 degree change without any real explanation. I have experienced it enough in personal relationships to know that it is almost always a method of emotional control and deception.

This behavior is abusive because it is manipulative. While, yes, we do not know enough about the situation, it is very suspect that his behavior would change to sweet on a dime when you are at the point of leaving. It looks to me that he may have problems with control, power and communication, and is making up for lost time, and presumably so that when things 'settle down' he can go back into his old patterns of behavior.

I think you should speak with him very frankly and assertively on his behavior. Ask him upfront why has brought about the suddent change in behavior? Why is he being kind all of a sudden? What lead him to this new found 'understanding' he appears to have? Has there been any self-work or searching done on his part? Get him to talk about it with you directly. If he or you cannot, then your relationship is pretty much null.

Also, go with what your gut is telling you. I can tell from your post that you already see a big fat "D" for divorce looming over your head. You do not deserve someone who will toss you around like a rag doll without any explanation or apology.
posted by GEB's fun world at 2:41 PM on March 1, 2011 [3 favorites]

I think it's worth giving him a chance. But I would set some groundrules: no physical contact until you are emotionally ready; there needs to be consistent progress in this area over a period of time; he cannot be pushy regarding what your feelings or reactions should be; and he needs to agree to go talk to a marriage counselor, perhaps with the two of you together. I wouldn't trust your feelings quite yet, but I also wouldn't assume the best about him, either.
posted by SpacemanStix at 2:42 PM on March 1, 2011 [2 favorites]

but I also wouldn't assume the best about him, either.

For that matter, I wouldn't assume the worst, either.
posted by SpacemanStix at 2:47 PM on March 1, 2011 [2 favorites]

People make mistakes. Even over incredibly long periods of time, even with things incredibly simple to fix, and even with the most important things in their lives. People make mistakes. Remember that, and have a little mercy in your heart for someone who may have been jolted back into reality at the possibility of losing you. Maybe he's in shock, maybe he has no idea what he's doing right now. I was there. It was tough to know if I was making all the right steps or all the wrong ones, and now seven months after the fact I still second-guess every move I made and every word I said.

And seven months after the fact she still barely speaks to me, and still can't forgive me, and now I'm blessed with the terrible clarity of everything that I did wrong over two years, and it hangs over me the worst every morning when I wake up and every night when I go to sleep.

So have a little mercy for a fellow human being, someone you once loved and someone who probably genuinely loves you. If he's anything like me he is remorseful and panicking and he hates himself and is terrified of losing you and worrying about it every second. He hurt you badly, and it's ok to be hurt, but a lifetime is a very long time to punish someone for their mistakes, no matter how bad they were. Can you carry such a black stone in your heart for him for the rest of your life?

It sounds like you're giving him a chance, which is good I think. Things will be weird for awhile. Maybe they always will be. I don't know, I never got that far. She barely tried for a month with me, flailing for forgiveness, before she was with someone else. But punishing someone like that, someone who is genuinely repentant, is the worst kind of cruelty, and it will weigh him down forever.

People make mistakes, even crazy, crazy ones that may make no earthly sense to you. Give it some time.
posted by deafmute at 2:53 PM on March 1, 2011 [4 favorites]

Whatever you do, don't let it become a cycle. A lot of people experience wake-up calls in a relationship, and this may be happening to your husband. But don't stick around with someone who makes a big effort to save the relationship whenever they think you might leave, and then goes back to being emotionally unavailable.
posted by BibiRose at 3:07 PM on March 1, 2011 [4 favorites]

I don't think there's enough information here for anyone to tell you whether he's being manipulative or if he had a wake up call and is doing the best he can. He might not even know. I agree with BibiRose... if you try to wait it out and the moment he feels safe again things go right back to where they were... well, then you have your answer.
posted by geegollygosh at 3:18 PM on March 1, 2011 [1 favorite]

It's hard to say exactly what you should do, I will note: "elaborate meals, buying me flowers, taking me out, planning surprises..." most of this isn't sustainable on a daily/weekly basis. Long term marriage is about nuts and bolts, which does include occasional elaborate meals etc..., but is mainly about simply meeting the daily needs, making basic meals, doing your fair share of house work, talking about your day. Those elaborate, over-the-top grand gestures are nice, but they are easy and fun. It's the slogging and sharing the burden while being generally pleasant to be around that is the real work.

Could he have changed? Yeah, sure he could have. But a fancy meal is not a basis to build your future together.
posted by edgeways at 3:26 PM on March 1, 2011 [17 favorites]

Give him, and your marriage, another chance.
posted by Sebmojo at 3:31 PM on March 1, 2011

The wrong person saying and doing the right things is still the wrong person. If you're sure about that, nothing else matters.
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 3:59 PM on March 1, 2011 [7 favorites]

You spent most of the relationship "feeling terrible" and finally thought you were mutually deciding to split up. There was an end in sight and you were making peace with it. Now you feel you're being sucked back into a life that makes you feel terrible.

There may be a way to have this relationship without feeling terrible, and there may not. The answer doesn't lie in elaborate meals and flowers. I think those who suggest you take some time apart make a good point. You and your husband need to renegotiate the terms of your marriage--what kind of criticism is acceptable, what makes each of you feel loved and safe. I don't know if you can do that under the same roof while he's back in honeymoon mode and you're trying to force yourself to have feelings that you don't really have right now.

Spend time working out your own feelings, spend time together in therapy. You don't need to "play house" while you're doing it, and probably shouldn't try. His intentions may be genuine, or they may not be, but flowers are a distraction right now. If he's serious about working things out, he'll take you seriously when you tell him what you need.
posted by Meg_Murry at 4:08 PM on March 1, 2011 [4 favorites]

He's showing you now that he was always able to do the things you asked for, the things you needed; for some reason before, your needs weren't important enough for him to do them. Now they are. How can you trust him not to go back to not caring about what you need again? Counselling is all well and good, and going together and separately is a good idea, even if it's just so you two can learn how to end it and go on with your lives. That's the outcome I would expect in this situation.
posted by lemniskate at 4:17 PM on March 1, 2011 [5 favorites]

Is it already over?

Girl, from what you say, it never began.
posted by fuq at 4:37 PM on March 1, 2011 [3 favorites]

I have similar story to you although the bad behavior was different. I was with him for 8 years, where I was essential abandoned by him in favor of anything else more appealing at the time. I was lonely and miserable and he was very aware and did nothing, except talk me around and manipulate me every time into thinking I was the selfish one for hampering his freedom. Until I decided to leave. And meant it.

Woo boy, then everything changed. Overnight, he was around all the time. He was always taking me out, calling me up. Only 40 minutes late instead of simply not turning up at all. (Big improvement for him). I asked him why he was doing it now when he never did it before, even though he knew how unhappy it had made me. He told me it was because he realized how unhappy it would make him to lose me. I considered it his most ultimate selfish manipulation ever. When I was unhappy, he knew it and couldn't care less. The only thing that drove him to change was when it was going to affect him, then it was all about doing whatever it took to keep me so he would be ok. If any of this rings a bell, dump him. I did and it was the best thing I've ever done.

Someone who loves you shouldn't be able to sit by and watch you be miserable for years. And if he was ok to treat you like that before, he has it in him to do it again. I don't believe in overnight transformations. I do believe in selfish manipulators.
posted by Jubey at 4:48 PM on March 1, 2011 [51 favorites]

Take some time away and then ask yourself if you miss him and are happy to be going home to him, or not. If not, God, leave. You say you "care about him" and want to honor your vows, but I don't see any sort of enjoyment of him evidenced.

People say relationships are work but the truth is that they shouldn't be mostly work, they should be mostly about enjoyment of each other and an easing of life's various burdens. Two and a half years, no kids, haven't been happy in recent memory? Why stay? It's not going to get better once the indignities of aging and the stress of childrearing come along, you can be sure.
posted by fingersandtoes at 4:50 PM on March 1, 2011 [2 favorites]

I kind of think if there's any sort of chance it might work, go for it. Do your due diligence. If this exact story had already played out 5 times, him distant, you needing him, which changed with a threat of divorce, then the same thing again, then again.... it might be time to call it quits.

But this is the first time this has happened. Who knows, maybe this was what it took to snap him into realizing some important things. It's worth a try, right? All marriages have difficulty to work through. I'd say do your due diligence: give it a shot. Make it clear to him that you need the marriage to work though, you're not just going to stay with him no matter what: that's another part of the wedding vows: making it work. If one of you isn't putting the effort in, then the vows have already been broken.

This thread is full of rhetoric you can use to get out cleanly and with a clear conscience. But you said you believe in those vows. Giving up at the first time through one of these struggles would weigh heavily on me, personally. If it all goes back to the way it was, and you go through this 5 more times, that's different.
posted by brenton at 5:04 PM on March 1, 2011 [1 favorite]

I'm super conservative when it comes to marriage -- I really don't think it's something that should be walked away from easily. But I also believe that staying in a marriage you're unhappy in is poison to the spirit.

Move out -- I'd say, for a month. A studio to sublet, a hotel with weekly or monthly rates, a friend's guest room, SOMETHING. Make an appointment with a marriage counselor, like a pretty frequent recurring appointment, I'd say once a week or even twice a week for the duration of that month. If you think your husband would benefit from individual therapy, ask him to move on that process ASAP. It might not hurt for you to see someone on an individual basis too.

If, by the third week of that month, you're dreading the end of the month and the return to the marriage: don't do it. Call a divorce lawyer and get it moving. If you're intrigued about the way things are going, then move back and see how things go once you're back in the same space. If you can't make up your mind one way or the other, extend the term -- but if you still can't make up your mind after three months? You've made up your mind. Don't stay in a marriage you're not excited to stay in. But I personally think, based on what you've written here, that you should try hard to make it work before you leave. *

*this all depends on him also trying hard to make it work. If he's not committed to that process -- blowing off counseling appointments, dragging his heels getting to his own therapist, whatever -- then DTMFA. because nothing has changed, he's just adapted to changing circumstances to maintain the status quo.
posted by KathrynT at 5:37 PM on March 1, 2011 [3 favorites]

I just want to say that Jubey's distinction really rings true for me. I've been in a relationship where something hurting me wasn't enough of a reason to address the issue, but once it started hurting him it was. That formulation just really clarified some past events for me. Is he acting well because he's concerned about your feelings, or about his?

Not knowing you or your husband or your relationship, I don't really have the standing to give you firm advice, beyond getting some space for yourself. If you do want to work on the marriage, counseling seems the first step.

Good luck to you.
posted by lillygog at 5:48 PM on March 1, 2011 [5 favorites]

Mod note: From the OP:
Thanks for all the perspective, everyone. I think deafmute got to the heart of my dilemma -- I care about him -- I love him, for sure, in a way -- enough to not want to hurt him. And that's why I'm thinking maybe leaving soon would be the best thing for him, rather than waiting for something that might not happen.

I don't think that it was abuse -- he was legitimately overtaxed by work, and I knew going into the marriage that he wasn't the most demonstrative guy. I antagonized him for years (like picking fights to get attention) knowing that it wasn't helping. I kinda feel like we've switched roles, here.

Re: his 180, he says that he would understand and want me to break things off if he ever went back to the way he was. It seems like a genuine thing, as he's the type of man to make anything happen within himself as long as he works hard enough. (And yeah, of course I think, why wait so long, then?!) I am seeing a counselor within a few days and he says he will, too, if I think it will help, but has no appointment set yet. It would be really, really, really hard to trial-separate for financial reasons. We have no kids and are late 20s, early 30s.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 6:03 PM on March 1, 2011

Why wait so long? Routine. Undemonstrative + picking fights for attention was your game. The rules have now changed, maybe that will be better for you.

Don't take the admonitions here as 100% gold standard. A lot of people give relationship advice that applies to their [old] relationships, not necessarily yours.

The fact that he says "kick me in the ass if I ever get that way again" says that he, at least right now, intends this to be a permanent change.
posted by gjc at 7:35 PM on March 1, 2011 [2 favorites]

In my own perspective: I look back many years to a marriage where we enjoyed much of what we did together, but there were a few areas where we weren't well matched. There was an issue where I felt he cared little about my particular needs in one area, and it just seemed to get worse. Counselors seemed blase about our problems and prospects. We agreed to divorce. I moved away and eventually remarried. I have recently caught up with this early ex. I realize now that in focusing on my own (small) hurt, I hurt someone else. What we had was good, and through youth and inexperience, I think we gave up too easily. Of course, no one knows what might have been.

So my advice is: Be sure.

In your counseling adventure, become a researcher. If you learn all you can about relationships, communication, assertiveness, boundaries, etc., even if you don't stay together - you'll have better tools for all your relationships in your entire life (work, social, relationship).
posted by Leah at 8:22 PM on March 1, 2011 [4 favorites]

People do change. Sometimes, they change too late.

Its a positive sign that he has adjusted his outlook on your relationship and it is good for him that he did so before the relationship ended.

But this is about you. I think that you need to do some soul searching to find out if you want to further invest in this relationship. I think that it is more important to come to a decision sooner rather than later and and commit to it completely. In this case, making a wrong decision is better than making no decision and living in this limbo is not fair on either of you. At least with a wrong decision, you can try and reverse it.

This is a tough time for you and I hope that you are also calling on the support of your close friends and perhaps a councillor or therapist rather than random strangers on the internet.
posted by dantodd at 8:29 PM on March 1, 2011 [1 favorite]

I recommend this book all the time on here, as it helped me make a decision to go or stay in two different marriages: Too Good To Leave, To Bad To Stay

From a comment I made in a previous thread:
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 7:12 AM on March 2, 2011 [1 favorite]

Somehow posted the above before adding the text from the "comment" link:

[The book] is designed precisely for figuring out which issues are dealbreakers for you. I've found it incredibly helpful for clearing up confusion. The first time I used it the result of working through the questions in the book helped me decide that I would be happier getting a divorce, and I was. No regrets.

The second time I used it I ultimately decided to stay married. The results of working through the book actually suggested I might be happier divorcing, but when my reaction to that turned out to be something along the lines of "but.. but... he's so wonderful in all these other ways and I LOVE him!" that turned out to be extremely helpful information to have as well.
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 7:14 AM on March 2, 2011 [1 favorite]

But punishing someone like that, someone who is genuinely repentant, is the worst kind of cruelty, and it will weigh him down forever.

This isn't about her punishing him, this is about her choosing hope and happiness for herself.

Putting it in terms of punishment still makes it all about him, his life, his experiences, his pain, his feelings. The same way it sounds like it's been all along.
posted by Salamandrous at 5:54 PM on March 2, 2011 [2 favorites]

From the follow-up... There was a good sense of what he was like, marriage, some self-acknowledged questionable doings on your part, some on his part, he's making a credible case for having seen the light or some of it so what's lost in giving it some time and couple's counseling, seeing how it goes.

If it goes back, go.
posted by ambient2 at 12:09 AM on March 3, 2011

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