Should we Get Divorced?

Visitor's Question from a 31-40 year old Female
I don't know what to do--I'm married to a man who is not someone I would marry now. I've changed and matured over the years and realize now what kind of person I would like to spend my life with. When we married at a very young age, I didn't really even have an understanding of myself, much less of what I was getting into. I don't believe in trying to change him although through our 15 years of marriage, I've tried to improve our relationship since it has never been a very close one. Our relationship was based on a physical one and therefore I felt obligated to marry him.

I was very immature in my knowledge of love when I married and I realize now why he treated me so badly through the years. I'm tired now of trying to make myself like him just to save the marriage. I made some mistakes while growing up and now I feel I want to have a second chance to start out in a relationship where I at least like the person to begin with. Advice
Divorce is never an easy thing to think about, especially after 15 years together. You have tons of shared memories, shared experiences, you know and understand each other, for better or for worse. There is a huge financial burden to start a new, separate life, and it can hurt emotionally for years afterwards because you "failed" at something you had sworn to for life.

That all being said, there are truly times when a couple is simply not suited for each other at all, and staying together is a form of emotional torture. It's one thing to be with someone that is "just OK" - where you have to work at the relationship. Every relationship requires work. It's quite another thing to be with someone who is actively harming you. While you can try your best to change the relationship, at some point you have to say, "I cannot let myself be harmed further" and acknowledge that it wasn't meant to be.

I have a number of tips on breaking up here -

I would really have both of you go to a therapist now to discuss your issues. I know you feel like you've already done everything you could. But he may not have realized fully how serious this was. If nothing else, going to the therapist will say clearly "Something serious is wrong. The only way it can possibly work if if we both try really hard." If he refuses to go to a therapist, then when you ask for a divorce it won't be a surprise - he'll have already said he didn't feel the relationship worth working on. If he does go with you and things don't work out, then it's a third person who is saying that it won't work, and it makes it easier on both of you. And if you both go to a therapist and somehow miraculously things really do turn around, then you're both happy and have rescued all those memories and shared time and so on.

-- from Jenn
One of Your Friendly Advisors at

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