Unwanted Divorce Looming

Updated on July 12, 2011
S.S. asks from Minneapolis, MN
20 answers

My husband filed for divorce in April. We talked and he agreed to put it on hold. Yesterday we had a small bickering fight, later I asked him if he even wanted to try to make this work, and he said no. He then told me he was going to start the divorce up again. We have two small children and I am a SAHM. I talked to him again last night and this morning and he agreed that he would not start it up today. We are not able to have a conversation as he refuses to tell me what is wrong or even talk to me, but he will listen (reluctantly). He has been on meds for depression, and this all started since then. I find him to be like an emotional robot since he starting taking the depression meds. I want to write him a letter so I can get all my thoughts out. My question is, have any of you been able to talk your spouse out of a divorce and how did you do it? For those who initiated a divorce, do you have any regrets? Also, for the single Moms, what are some of the downfalls of going it alone? Specifically, what negative impact has it had on your kids. I want him to think about that, as it kills me to think he would do this to our children. We have a 3 1/2 year old girl, and an 11 month old boy. He loves our daughter dearly, but she is unable to understand the gravity of the situation and express to him how it would hurt her. She told me last night that she is mad at Daddy for not being nice to me, but she doesn't open up to him about it. He will not go to a marriage therapist with me, he just said "I'm done" when I asked him.I need help fast.

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So What Happened?

Update: I have discussed switching drugs with my husband, but he thinks they work fine. He comes home many evenings and goes straight to bed, so I don't think they are working. I put a call into his doctor and am waiting on a call back. I addressed this back in April with his doctor, but my husband said the drug was fine, so the doctor kept him on it. I wanted him to see someone/do something about his depression, but now he is so emotionally empty I don't even recognize him. The doctor's nurse called back. They won't do anything. My husband has to recognize there is a problem and come in. I am hoping to convince him tonight. Thanks for all the responses, keep them coming. What a great resource you ladies are.

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answers from San Francisco on

my parents divorced when i was 4 or 5. i don't remember them ever being together. i have no resentment, "man issues," anxiety, etc. because both parents remained very strong in my life.

my advice: don't stay together just to stay together. why be with someone who doesn't want to stay? you deserve better than that.

have two HAPPY parents co-raising the children.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Raleigh on

It's the meds. My best friend got on an antidepressant, and the next week, she was talking about leaving her husband and abandoning her children. Completely out of character and out of the blue. She told me after the fact that it was the meds. Changing her meds got her back on track.

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answers from Washington DC on

I'm so sorry you're facing this.

Answering your questions:
Have any of you been able to talk your spouse out of a divorce? Before I divorced my first h., he threatened divorce a few times, and I put it off by basically accepting all his demands for freedom to cat around with whoever he wanted, spend our scarce resources on stupid stuff while the lights were getting turned off on me and my babies, and treat me like some sort of friend with benefits.

If you initiated a divorce, do you have any regrets? Finally, I'd had enough, and realized that the main thing I felt when he walked out the door each day was RELIEF! I divorced him, and have never had any regrets, even about him being 'missing' from the kids lives, because guess what? He was ALREADY GONE emotionally, and he could have spent lots of time with them afterwards, but he didn't, because he was too self-centered. I grieved, but I never regretted.

What are some of the downfalls of going it alone? Honestly, for me, being alone was easier than being married to the king of dysfunction. I had to be the sole breadwinner, and money was tight, but my expenses were under my control, my kids were my world, my home was my castle, and I finally got a dog and a cat, which the kids and I had always wanted, but my ex had always whined about because they can be messy. Living alone I was able to realize that I was not, in fact, the whiny, clingy, pathetic, insecure, unbalanced b*tch that he accused me of being, but that I was instead smarter, stronger, and able to get things done for my family. I got my sense of humor back. I'm not saying it was easy, or that I never made mistakes along the way, but it was the best thing I could have done under the circumstances, and it made me strong.

Also, it wasn't forever...I divorced when my kids were 5 and 4, and remarried to a wonderful, considerate, and committed guy when they were 10 and 11.

Ask yourself why you want to stay in this relationship. Is it more because you love him and he is worth loving, and you know he loves you? Do you honestly see things getting better eventually? Or is it because you fear the changes that would come your way? Being afraid is very understandable, but I want to give you encouragement that a better future is possible. For your kids, this young age is an easier time to divorce than when they are 7-12. Do you have any family that you could rely on while you make this transition? If you don't see things getting better, it might be time to start thinking about your next steps to get out of this marriage.

Sending my heartfelt condolences and strength your way.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

The medication or a change in medication is not the solution here.

He's told you several times that "he's done" and that he doesn't want to work on the marriage. Please take that for what it is. I have worked therapeutically with families for year and I am NOT an advocate for divorce, but I also don't advocate trying to make it work for the kids when that means living in a confrontational, loveless home with a chronically depressed and angry parent. At 3 1/2 she's aware of it and that's what worries me. She's not going to open up to him about it. The odds are pretty good that she knows he's going to yell at her (or at least that's her fear b/c that's what he does to you).

I would strongly suggest a legal separation. Go to counseling on your own to help YOU understand how the situation got to where it is and to help YOU develop the strength to care for your child as a single parent. If during that time things change with him then there is nothing to keep him from moving back into the house. If during that time you find your stress levels melting away and find yourself feeling unburdened for the first time in a long time- well, then there's your answer.

Don't try to grab on to a sinking ship... you'll get pulled under too.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Seattle on


If "this all started" since he's been on the depression meds... He needs to CHANGE HIS MEDS.

Psychoactive drugs (any medication that causes neural changes in mood, perception, etc.) have side effects. Each and every single one of them. That's why there are between 10 & 100 different drugs for EVERY disorder. ADHD has 88 of them (I'd have to look up depression, but I'm guessing it's a "high" number as well, since I can think of 30 off hand and I'm not a overly familiar with depression the way I am with adhd).

PURELY that all of a sudden he wants a divorce after going on the meds is reason to change. Being an emotional robot is ALSO (PURELY, all by itself) a reason to change.

An antidepressant should make you feel like YOURSELF. Act like yourself, think like yourself, FEEL like yourself. If all of a sudden you're acting, thinking, feeling differently than you ever have YOU NEED TO CHANGE MEDS. That's the tell on ALL psychoactive drugs for ALL disorders. You need to act, think, and feel like yourself.

Did you know that one side effect (from any psychoactive drug) is to lose the ability to feel love for someone? Love is a complicated emotion with many many layers. SMELL ties into it. Suddenly cut off a person's sense of smell and their relationships will take a dive, because the pheramones AND "normal" smells of the people that we love are one way that our brain RECOGNIZES them as that individual (not just our eyes). When you start messing with brain chemistry, you can cut off 1 or MORE ways that our brain recognizes the person that we love as the person we love.

Take the wrong drug and you'll REMEMEBR the person, remember that you USED to love them, but you won't love them. Your brain will not recognize that person as someone you love.

Of course, there's more to it... a lot more. I can go on and on for pages and pages about neurotransmitters and interactions... but PURELY AND SIMPLY... if your husband has wanted a divorce since going on the meds:


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answers from Pittsburgh on

I'm sorry you are going through this. Obviously, you want the marriage and he doesn't. That's tough to get your head around.
The medication might have something to do with this, but if he is unwilling to re-visit the medication, you can't force it, I guess.
Truthfully, if I was in your shoes, as hard as it would be for me to see my child(ren) go through this, I would tell him to go ahead, pack a bag and go.
I wouldn't really want a man staying if he doesn't *want* to, nor would I like to have this "placing it on hold" phase held over my head...it seems like he is holding it over your head and lording his decision over you and that's just wrong.
So....I would go ahead and help him pack a bag, get myself an attorney and file for spousal and child support. Let him have a go at his new life.
I'll bet it's not so shiny after all. :)
Best of luck to you!

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Beaumont on

My husband is depressed also. We've struggled to get it under control for quite a while and finally seem to have it leveled out. (8 years later) He was in denial that anything was wrong. I would suggest talking with his Dr./psychologist, whoever is doling out the meds. I now attend (with his permission) my husband's meetings with his Dr. and give my perspective on how he's doing. While I understand he probably wouldn't let you do this at this time, I would definitely let the Dr. know your perspective. Also, I think I would enlist the help of a brother/best friend/father-in-law or someone you think he would trust to help him/you ride this storm out. My brother-in-law was instrumental in helping my husband "see the light". Good luck. It's a rough road but you will get through this.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

I've been through this. It is very hard. You might try reading Love Must Be Touch, by Dr. Dobson. It's a classic written for people in this situation. Although it didn't save my marriage, I regained a lot of self-respect. You can't talk someone out of a divorce. But your actions can influence their decision. If you respond with desperate fear, they pull away. If you respond with strength and self-respect, they sometimes come to their senses. But not always. You can't change another person.
I've been able to navigate my kids through it, but it has been extremely difficult. You need a lot of support. I just wrote a blog post this morning titled "Four Imperatives When Your Spouse Walks Out." It's here:
The hardest thing for me was watching my children have to go through it. I was so angry at my ex for doing this! However, I want to encourage you that with God's help you can raise them well. You want to keep things as stable as possible. I wrote about that.
God bless you! Take one day at a time.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

Several people have suggested you contact his doctor. I agree. There are lots of meds that can help control his depression. But the person taking the drugs cannot have a totally objective opinion on how it is affecting them.

Get help for him. His doctor needs to know how his meds are changing him for the worse.

Good luck to you and yours.

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answers from Dallas on

We were at this same crossroads this weekend. A couple from the church came over and talked with us. They let us talk it out with them. They were like referees or moderators for the argument. By the time the whole thing was over, we saw that we had much more working than wasn't working. We felt so much better for having been heard. It was great for us. It wasn't official counseling. It was 2 people that had struggled early in thier marriage and had gotten to a place where they know what works and what doesn't. It was in our own home, so, it was not like the anxiety of going to a drs office. Maybe you could try something like that.

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answers from Boston on

You need to get access to whoever is prescribing his meds ASAP. His behavior is a side effect of the medication and a sign that he is on the wrong medication or the wrong dose. If you have to bribe him to allow you to talk to his doctor (damn HIPAA rules) then tell him that if after you talk to his doctor and work through your concerns with him or her that if he still wants the divorce, you'll consider it but that if he fights you on getting access to his medical information, you'll resist and make things really hard for him.

He should be in counseling for his depression and I hope he's getting his medication from a psychiatrist or psychopharmacologist and not a GP. You should get him to grant you access to both the doc who prescribes his medication and the one he sees for therapy/counseling. Patients with mood disorders are in no position to self-report their symptoms and behaviors to their doctors. My husband has cyclothemia (mild bi-polar) and what he tells his doctors and reality are two very different things. With my input in addition to his, we have been able to get him fairly stable.

Best of luck as you move forward - do NOT let this illness rob you of your marriage and family. Read "Depression Fallout" - it's a great book written for loved ones of people battling depression. Remind your husband that you're on HIS side and that you are fighting this enemy together.

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answers from Dallas on

First of all, I am tremendously sorry that you are going through this. I have had recent trouble in my marriage and we are on the road to recovery, though it is a long and hard one and takes some serious dedication (READ: on BOTH parts, not just one!).

A red flag for me: You went behind HIS back, called HIS doctor, about HIS meds? As someone who struggles with clinical depression (and I have all of my life), and as someone who manages my medications with my doctor, if my husband felt that he was entitled to become personally involved in the management of my medication (other than to indicate that maybe my dose was off because of some odd behavior), I would be so offended, and that would break trust. Your marriage is already on rocky ground. Why would you further harm the marriage by breaking his trust in that way? You cannot control what he does, you can only control yourself.

Second, I would find a counselor for you (if he is not willing to go), and find one fast.

Good luck to you- do not waste your time trying to control your husband. I have learned recently that this does no good and only drives him away. Take a breath, worry about you, and make the changes you need to make. Whether it's in this marriage or the next relationship, you have a responsibility to yourself.

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answers from Phoenix on

The one thing that stood out to me is the medication. Maybe he can switch meds or lower his dose. My mom was on anti-depressants and she didn't care about anything anymore. She stopped caring about me and my siblings and about her grandchildren. It was really upsetting to the whole family. You couldn't talk to her about it because she didn't care. But she started cutting back a little because she couldn't afford them anymore and she started getting back to normal. The same thing happened to my grandmother. She was put on those meds and she stopped caring for my grandfather. She was taking care of him but when she was on the meds, she neglected him and didn't care anymore. But when my aunt talked to her doctor and he changed her meds, she was back to normal again. HUGS and PRAYERS!! Hang in there!! I wish you the best!!

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answers from San Francisco on


I am so sorry you are going through this!!! I would encourage you to go in and talk to his doctor privately. Depression hurts people in lots of different ways and it is completely possible that he is on the wrong meds. The meds may be making him be irrational and the cause of the divorce thing. Alot of people who are depressed feel hopeless. I would encourage you to write your hubby a letter from your heart and ask him to at least give you 6 months of really trying to make it work before even speaking about divorce again. Its only fair that he give you the benefit of the doubt and that you talk about the issues. He needs to let you know why he is upset--so you can work together! point out the impact it will have on your kids. Kids no matter what age or circumstance always, always feel that divorce is THEIR fault. They figure out tons of ways to misconstrue things that point to them. If only they were good at dinner or maybe if they played quieter, daddy wouldn't get mad at mommy etc. Divorce will devistate your kids if you don't go about it the right way....So, I hope that you are able to talk to him and work things out. Hang in there!!!!!


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answers from Portland on

It's not your kids' job to try to fix whatever is wrong with Daddy, so be careful not to try to manipulate his feelings by getting your daughter involved. That could end up being far more damaging to her than an amicable divorce.

You can't make another person want something they don't want. Something has changed for your husband. Since he won't talk about it, then the best you can probably do is find out what can now change for you. He could be avoiding interaction with you because he's still depressed, but he could be depressed as an "out" so he doesn't have to talk to you. I've been there myself in my first marriage, which was so unrewarding and difficult that I have never for a moment regretted leaving it.

The divorce was both a relief and a source of dismay for my 8yo daughter. She loved the comparative peace of our new home away from Daddy, but she did feel insecure for a couple of years because the only family she'd ever known had come apart, and I know her dad was filling her with "messages" to give me every time she had visitation. She was torn for a long time, but eventually both her dad and she accepted that the divorce was going through, and she felt happier and less uncertain. It really would have been better for her if I had left that marriage years earlier.

Go to a counselor for yourself. You will learn to see what choices you still have, not about the marriage, perhaps, but about all the possibilities that are about to open up in your life. You will learn how to make the situation as positive as possible for your children.

And be sure to have your own lawyer to look out for the future support of your little ones. I've seen women get all kinds of promises that were never put in writing, and never fulfilled after the divorce. It's not easy being a single mom, but it's much, much easier than struggling to hold together the frayed edges of a dying marriage. I wish you the best.

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answers from Boca Raton on

Please get to the doc and to counseling if at all possible.

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answers from Lake Charles on

I feel SO bad for you, it has to be frustrating. Since you said he's on depression meds can you put a call in to his doctor that prescribed them? Let him know what's going on and how your husband has completely closed off emotionally. Thats some info the doc would be interested to know. You can't force someone to therapy and it sucks that eventually he'll be off his meds then what will he think/regret? Maybe give him some space? I know in the past I've been irrational and having my hubby tell me how cold or unemotional I was being just instigated an eye roll and I stopped listening. Try doing something to show him you want to work on your relationship (fake it till' you make it) and see how he responds. He has to know his feelings are not his own and that has to be frustrating enough without someone you're hurting constantly reminding you. I've tended to just shut down because I didn't know how to fix it, and that may be what's going on.. Walk on eggshells for a day and try to make him happy and see how that turns out (I know it will be SO frustrating) if he's still miserable then you need to seek therapy on your own. The therapist will tell you that when one spouse attends to try to fix a marriage and one refuses it usually doesn't end well, basically because you are getting some guidance on how to survive your situation and how to better yourself but it's not a joint effort... either way you'll be stronger for it! Good luck!

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answers from Columbus on

I'm with Riley J. on this 100%--- the very first thing, before anything else, is to have him go back to his doctor & change meds. If he's suffering from depression, there are a variety of different meds that can be tried, and not all of them (or combos of them) will make him an emotional robot.

So, first things first, get him in to the doctor. Talk to him about this (leave out the marriage stuff and just focus on his mental health) --that you're concerned about him. If he won't make an appointment, call his doctor yourself and let the doctor know what is going on.

Because each person is different, not all are going to get better on a particular med, so often they have to try different meds and/or different combos of meds.

Once he's on meds that help him feel like his normal self, then it's time to bring up the issue with divorce. If he won't go into counseling with you, try to get him into counseling alone, and go yourself alone.

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answers from St. Louis on

What medication is he on if you dont mind me asking?



answers from Charlotte on


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