When I Told My Husband I Wanted a Divorce

I thought he felt the same way.

I really did.

When I told my husband that I wanted a divorce, I expected him to be relieved or at least not surprised.

In my mind our marriage had not been working for some time and I thought that he wanted out as much as I did.

Boy, was I wrong.  I don’t think it was because he was truly still in love with me or even really liked me that much, but to him our marriage was comfortable and familiar.

Change was not a friend to my husband.

I had all these fantasies about an “amicable divorce”.  We would both be committed to putting the well-being of our son first, we would get along, no one would get hurt.

Unfortunately, that’s not what happened.  I hurt my husband (even thought that was the last thing I wanted to do) and hurt people hurt people.  The next 5 years was a trip through hell for me.

This is not a post where I am going to bash and re-count every “terrible” deed of my now ex-husband – I have moved beyond that.

But I do want you to know that I have been through the nightmare.

The fighting, the tears, the threats, the blackmail.

What I wanted more than anything during that time was for someone, anyone to make my ex see how he was damaging our child (in my opinion).  How because he wasn’t behaving like I thought he should, he was wrong.

Why did he not get it?  Why couldn’t he be a rational person and see things my way?

He knew my buttons well and, intentionally or not, he was pushing every one of them.

I was living with extreme anxiety.  I never knew what each phone call or drop off would bring.  Would he be “ok” or would there be another blow up or tantrum over something insignificant.

It broke my heart to see my son caught in the middle and I wanted to know how to protect him, how to give him his own strength.

I had pages and pages of notebooks filled with dates and specific incidents and things said – just in case.  Just in case it got that bad that we ended up in court.  I thank God that it didn’t come to that.

So how did things change?

 I gave up

I gave up trying to change him.  I gave up trying to turn him into a “better father”.  I stopped beating my head against that proverbial brick wall and walked away instead.

I stopped accepting the invitations to the fights.  I stopped trying to exert my power over him and empowered myself to control my reactions.

I had faith that as long as I was a good mom and always tried to do right by my son and let him know how much we was loved by both me and his father, that it would all be okay.

Somewhere along the way, my ex started to change as well.  I’m not really sure what happened.  Actually, maybe it was more my perception that changed.  I can’t know for sure.

Yes, sometimes there are still little flare-ups but they stay little because I am able to just let go.

To not take it personally

To just say “okay, he must be having a bad day” and move on instead of letting it push my buttons.

I has now been 8 years since the divorce and I am still floored sometimes by the progress that has been made.

I was sure that our relationship would never get better – that my son would have to choose which of us he wanted more at this wedding (me, of course!) because his father would refuse to attend if I and my new husband were in attendance.

I would never have imagined that my ex, my son, myself, and my new husband would be sitting down to dinner together on a somewhat regular basis.

And my son? 

He is doing just fine.  He still spends half his time with me and half with his father.  I think he had the whole letting go thing down a long time ago.  So maybe he was teaching me as I was trying to protect him.

In the end, it can all be summed up (as can most things) by the Serenity Prayer:

God, grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change,

Courage to change the things that I can

And the Wisdom to know the difference.




  1. Why would you assume that your husband would feel the same way you did? My husband is like you and thought that. Is it OK for partners to think they know what the other’s reaction would be without checking in? How would you feel if someone made a big change in your life that you did not want to make? Would you not feel angry, sad? My husband came to me and said everyone, him, our child and me will be OK, because that’s what he wanted. He wanted his decision to not be difficult, he wants to see other women, be unattached. We didn’t get asked, my child and I. What are our needs, do we want to be a family. And by the way, it sucks when your parents divorce, I lived through that, your world is shattered, children are scared even if the parents don’t have emotional upsets. And life as the child has known it is never the same and all children want their parents together and have access all the time to them, unless maybe they are beating each other up. I think with a 50% divorce rate we delude ourselves into thinking it’s OK for everyone.
    I am sorry for you that you, your husband and son had a difficult divorce and time after. I wonder i

  2. I am dumbfounded by the comment that you wanted to put your son first. But in actually you put yourself first before your son by destroying the family unit by leaving his father. It’s so sad that the world thinks so selfishly. I think we have all been dumbed down to believe all the liberal lies about happiness. I think doing the right thing brings true happiness. Even when it is the hard thing to do. We need to really put our children first and not just claim we are putting them first.

  3. Your husband still loved you and you chose to divorce him anyway? Love is something we do it is a verb. Love is not a feeling. Being “in love” is a feeling and a very lovely feeling. But love endures and does right by others. Sometimes you get those in love feelings when you practice love the verb.

  4. The best thing for a child is for both parents to love each other. Not just the “in love” because that NEVER lasts. Ever heard the term, a hot dish always cools? Real love is committed.

  5. People love to throw stones.

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  7. I’m shocked to read all this comments of people judging that you put yourself first before your child. Is it putting your child first when you go on with a loveless marriage? Kids feel everything, is it fair to be unhappy just because you want your children to be in a household with mommy and daddy? Do you think watching you unhappy will make them happy? I applaud your decision to get a divorce and end a marriage that was loveless and was not making you happy. It takes courage and guts to do that. I am a mother of two kids who is separated and I rather help my kids adjust to a divorce and have them live in a loveless home. And for the person who asked: “you divorce your husband when he still loved you?” You can’t make people feel what they don’t feel….