Should Two People Who Don't Love Each Other Get Divorced?

Updated on October 30, 2008
L.E. asks from Buena Park, CA
4 answers

Should two people who don't love each other get divorced?

My husband and I met in our late thirties and have been together for about five years (married for three). I don't think that we were ever really romantically/physically attracted to each other. I think that we decided to marry each other mainly because we wanted to have kids and I was running out of time to do that (with my own DNA), I was lonely and missed my first fiance, who left me many years earlier, and my now husband and I had the same disease. (We didn't want to give anyone else our disease. I got this disease orally from a guy I dated twenty years ago.) My husband, a roadie, sometime musician, for the last eight years is away from home most of the year. Usually, my young kids and I cannot follow him as he moves from city to city by bus, boat or plane on a daily basis. When my husband is with me, he and I rarely want to have sex with each other (although I loved having sex with my first boyfriend/fiance) and I don't want to kiss him or hold his hand. I think that just about the only thing we have in common is our kids. I don't think that we've said we loved each other for almost our entire marriage.

I feel depressed every day. I hesitate to take antidepressants because (1) the types I tried in the past didn't work for me and (2) I'm afraid that, as I will become self-insured in a few months, health insurance companies will deny me insurance or will charge me an exorbitant rate for my pre-existing conditions, including depression, which they will assume I experience if I take antidepressants.

To help improve my marriage, I've done several things. I've read many books, including many Mamasource readers' favorite, Dr. Laura's book on marriage, and Dr. John Gottman's book, which I thought was great, among others. My husband really does not want to discuss marital problems. I asked my husband to attend marriage seminars or couples therapy with me, which he turned down for a couple of years. On my own, I've talked to a couple of therapists about the situation. Two weeks ago, for three hours, my husband and I talked to my husband's therapist, which my husband had not seen for a few years. I'm glad that we went, but I don't know how his therapist, or any therapist, can really change the nature of our marriage (make it a happy one). My husband is on the road again for two straight months. My kids miss him.

I live in L.A. because my husband, although he is on the road most of the year, wants me to live close to his parents. That way he can easily see his parents when he is at home. I would rather live in the northeastern U.S. I feel as though my views and preferences don't count. He will stay on the road until he dies or nobody hires him any more because he can't think of any other real job to do. He will expect me to live where he wants me to live and not get a PhD because that does not fit his lifestyle. (I have a hard time making the time to successfully complete a PhD while taking care of two babies full-time.)

I want my husband to be happy. I want to be happy. I want my kids to be happy. By divorcing my husband, could I give my husband a chance, guilt-free, to find someone with a more compatible lifestyle and outlook, myself a chance to find a partner who was more compatible with me and that I was attracted to and who felt physically attracted to me, and my kids a chance to get a father who they could see more than a few days each month? Or would life for all of us be worse?

I don't blame my husband for the problems in my marriage.

Thank you for your time.


What can I do next?

  • Add yourAnswer own comment
  • Ask your own question Add Question
  • Join the Mamapedia community Mamapedia
  • as inappropriate
  • this with your friends

So What Happened?

Second Update (October 31, 2008)
Thank you Robin, Diedre, Jaime, Rhi and the real Emily C. You have given me much thoughtful advice. You sound like wise, intelligent women. I am going to continue talking to my therapist for at least a couple more months and try to make a decision regarding my marriage by next summer.

To the fake and evil Emily C, I don't know what has induced you to embark on a life of crime. I suggest you stop damaging others' reputations as well as your own now. Do you really want to go to jail? Do you really want to be labeled a criminal? I advise you to seek counseling, also, if you feel a compulsion to commit crime and abuse others.

First update
Rhi, thank you for your compassionate support.

Emily, H--- hath no fury as an angry woman with Internet access. You are right—you sound harsh—and you are harsh. That’s OK, though. I can take it. I agree with you, too, that I made the decision to marry him and have kids with him. In my post, I tried hard to convey the message that I am NOT trying to exonerate myself and NOT blaming my husband. (I stated, “I do not blame my husband.”) I am not asking for sympathy. I am asking for guidance in making all members of my family as healthy and as happy as possible over the long run. (I stated, “I want my husband to be happy…I want my kids to be happy.”) If you knew what I went through, years of infertility treatment that cost over $40K, over a thousand shots, two miscarriages and two c-sections with complications, you would not think for a moment that I frivolously became a parent or felt less than undying devotion to my kids.

As someone who has suffered from dysthymia (mild chronic depression) for many years, I believe that, generally, depressed people have some control over their behavior and their mood. However, according to the biopsychosocial model, which most psychologists subscribe to, certain individuals are more vulnerable to becoming depressed as a result of the presence of negative external factors, or factors that individuals have no control over. I have no desire to be depressed. Depression, the type defined by clinicians, is very difficult to fight. It is the most common reason people seek therapy and take psychotropic drugs.

You don’t sound like someone who subscribes to the Rogerian approach to psychotherapy as you do not positively motivate people, at least not in my case. You seem more like someone who subscribes to the Dr. Laura, beat-up-the-caller, approach.

I do not agree that all men, or even most men, “are easy.” To say that “men are easy,” as opposed to complex, is demeaning to men. I don’t think that you meant to demean them, though.

You mentioned that I need to ‘start doing my part to get both of us happier.’ Did you read my third paragraph, which starts with, “To help improve my marriage, I have done several things…?”

As you seem like an authority on marriage, perhaps you can briefly describe your life history, especially your marriage, so that I may learn from it.

Regarding communicable diseases, I was a virgin at 21, the age I acquired my disease from someone I never had sexual intercourse with, so get off your high horse. As approximately half the adult population has a communicable disease at any given time, but doesn’t know that they have a disease or want to share that bit of information out of fear of persecution from people like you, I think that is reasonable for a carrier to get sexually involved with someone who is not a carrier, assuming that the carrier informs the potential partner.

Regarding the hug, thanks, but no thanks. I’d rather hug a porcupine.

To all other readers of Mamasource who feel inclined to respond, I look forward to your input. Thank you in advance for your time. I’ve learned a lot from reading this message board.

L. E

More Answers



answers from Los Angeles on

Lynne - I am freaking out here - this is E. C - I did not write the post that is appearing to come from my account regarding this topic.

I think I'm having a problem with a co-worker who uses my computer with me, who also got a hold of my computer Id's and passwords, I'm finding posts on several sites that I access that look like they came from me - but I didn't write them.

I am horrified by the post that was written. I would have NEVER written those things to you. I myself am a twice married person - I am luckily now in a happy marriage with a great man, but first time around I wasn't so lucky. I can completely relate to feeling depressed and alone, and needing help in figuring out what to do. I also have struggled with depression and anxiety at different times in my life, and have taken medication on and off for these ailments for almost my entire adult please know that I would NEVER have made these terrible comments to you.

You sound like a very intelligent woman, and like you are doing the soul-searching needed to figure this out - I commend you for that. I know that it took me a long time to get to the point where I could leave my ex, and I can't say if that is the right decision for you or not, but it was the right choice for me. I didn't have any kids with my first that made it a lot easier to leave of course.

My heart goes out to you, and I hope you will continue to use this resource for support from other moms in your community. I'm sending a note to the Mamasource support staff now now find out what I should do about these fraudulent posts (I found two others as well that were so terrible...I just feel awful about this).

I'm so sorry this happend - this is not what you needed at this time in your life.



answers from Los Angeles on

I don't really know what to say but that I am so sorry!
And don't listen to Emily C's post! How RUDE!!!! Your not doing anyone any favors if your in a marriage that isn't working!!! If you decide to divorce just really work on having both of you be there for your kids, having them grow up in a loveless marriage is not good for them either!
Sorry for Emily's comments I find them awful and I can think of several words that wouldn't be appropriate to say about her!!
Hope everything gets better for everyone in your family!



answers from Los Angeles on

I don't have an answer for you, but I'm struggling with the same decision. My situation is very similar to yours, right down to living where my husband wants to live. My husband has almost no interest in sex, I've never been physically attracted to him, and I'm wondering whether it's better to raise our daughter in a loveless marriage or to divorce. I think I'm staying because it's easier to stay than to make the decision to leave, and because I would like another child and I'm 36.

I view it as a decision between companionship and loneliness. Would you rather be with someone you don't love but have someone there, or risk being lonely?

Your depression is normal. The older I get, the more I believe most of us are depressed and unsatisfied with our lives, just to different degrees. We all struggle with what our purpose is in life, who we are, what we like and dislike about ourselves, and our jobs. There are a few truly happy people out there, and more power to you readers if you are one of them, but I don't think that's the case for the majority.

Did you talk to your husband's therapist about your dissatisfaction with your marriage? What did the therapist say (besides recommending more counseling, of course)? Do you think the therapist would recommend ending the marriage if you asked outright for a decision? My husband said he'd rather us work it out by talking than go to counseling, but of course he never wants to talk. He comes home at night and gets on the computer and doesn't really interact with us. I've thought about making an appointment with a counselor myself, but I'm very results oriented and I'd want the counseling to result in a decision and not just endless sessions.

Good luck to you Lynne, and I hope you find the solution that is right for you.



answers from Los Angeles on

I am so glad you responded to Emily's obviously uneducated (about depression and other psychological issues) response. You handled it in a healthy and adult way if you ask me and I just wanted to share my support for you. I understand where you are coming from and empathize. I am hoping that you have discussed with hubby that you are not happy since you mentioned going to his therapist. Let him know how you feel if you haven't , I know I have made the mistake of holding it back and it just makes both more frustrated (and there is love in my marriage so I can only guess the stress it causes when you doubt the love). I think talking with the therapist is a great step and you should try to build on it. It would be more ideal to do this and a whole lot easier if he was home more but that doesn't seem like it is going to happen. Which to me seems like the biggest problem. How are you supposed to work things out if you are never together? Is there some way you can work out visiting him with the kids on the road? Or how about his parents keep the kids for a weekend and you meet him on the road for some time just the two of you? It sounds like to me you married for convienence and have now realized you need love too. Do you think you can fall in love with him? Or do you think that just isn't going to happen? Is it worth giving a shot? Divorce is a big step and you may not be happier. I do agree with Rhi that it is not good for kids to grow up with parents who are unhappily wed. I just think that you have already invested quite a bit into this relationship and it might be worth it see if love can grow. Hey if arranged marriages can grow into love why not marriages of convienence?

For Updates and Special Promotions
Follow Us

Related Questions