If you've read some of my other posts here, you know I am at my wit's end and that I feel divorce is inevitable. At this point, I am waiting to get some ducks in a row, which could take months or could take a few years.
One day last year when I was hurt by something my husband did, I wrote a letter to him that said I wanted a divorce. It was an issue-by-issue breakdown of why. I feel lonely, like his last priority, I need intimacy in a marriage (we have been sexless for 8-9 years), he refuses to hold traditional employment while I have always worked hard, I do 99% of the parenting, 99% of the meals and cleaning and I am simply worn out, etc., etc. There are more issues and most/all are related to ADHD symptoms. The issues in the letter are ones I have raised several times in the past decade with a great will to work with him. I hoped for years he would join me in trying to improve our relationship. He has not so they are still issues and I no longer have any "will" left on my end. He is in denial about ADHD or he truly cannot see it.
Anyway, the letter is many pages long and writing it helped me stabilize my emotions at that time so I did not give it to him.
My question is... when the time comes, should I... give him the letter? Or not? Virtually every piece of advice I have read online says to keep your statement that you want a divorce simple and kind/compassionate. The advice says to basically say the marriage isn't working for you and you would like a divorce. The general consensus from experts/lawyers/psychologists seems to be that this conversation sets the tone for divorce proceedings and a friendly coparenting relationship so you shouldn't rehash the issues. And the future coparenting relationship is vitally important to me. BUT... it makes me oh-so-mad to leave these things in my letter unsaid. I want him to know why the marriage didn't work. Even though I've raised these issues before over the years, no doubt he has forgotten what they are because they were never important to him. He thinks he is a fantastic father and husband. If I simply ask for a divorce and keep it that simple, my fear is that he will see the end as all my fault and it is really really not. He will get to tell his family I am the one that did this "out of the blue for no reason". Because of his impulsivity, he will likely tell our daughter the same. And that last one is the one that gets me because she and I have an incredible bond I don't want undermined. I don't deserve that.
But will taking the high road by not mentioning the issues pay off for me? Do I have to let it all go like I have with so many things? I honestly feel like I can't be objective right now because I am still mired in the issues and feel very resentful over what his denial and untreated ADHD has done to us. We could have worked so well if he were only willing. But he's not and I accept that I can't get him there.
Can anyone who has experienced a divorce give me some advice here? I think it is natural emotionally for me to want to say "I want a divorce and here is why," but does it serve me better to hold that last part in? Honestly, I have held a lot in over the years to my detriment... denying/suppressing my feelings has hurt me... so will I later wish I had let it all out and have no opportunity to do so?
Just looking for opinions I guess. This is so hard.
Keep it simple
Submitted by adhd32 on
Say you want a divorce, that you can no longer live with the way things are. I would advise against listing all his transgressions no matter how valid you feel they are as this will add fuel to the fire. Once a nerve has been touched he will deflect, deny, and minimize each item on your list and turn things around to make things your fault. He will say you have unrealistic expectations or too high standards or are too sensitive. If he is honestly interested in some of your reasons I would suggest discussing things with a moderate third party present who can help keep things civil.
The past is over and you cannot go back and rewrite history. Keep your eye on the future and consider your relationship as you will be co-parenting your child. Avoid giving him any reason to bad mouth you to his friends and family. They may already be of his ADD behaviors. A letter will give him something to reference over and over re-igniting unwarranted anger and bitterness toward you.
In my life when friends divorced there was no mystery whose behavior was the cause; your friends and family probably already know the truth.
Eye on the future - adhd32
Submitted by 1Melody1 on
This is so helpful and I feel in my heart/gut you are right. It is so difficult to be wronged in a way that has impacted so many years of my life and caused me so much pain. But you are right. I need to keep my eye on the future. Thank you, 32.
I like adhd 32's post to you....I would add this...
Submitted by c ur self on
IF you think there is any hope, I would find a highly reputable counselor...Take my letter, and set down for a visit or two or three....Let this person help you to see your options, and counsel you on what they see in your thoughts and emotions....If your husband refuses to care enough to visit this counselor, (later w/ you) and have your letter and feelings presented in a non threatening environment, then I would do what I had to do...
But even if my mind was made up based on the fixed past behaviors, and I still loved my spouse...I would attempt this third party intervention, to see if any repentance and change could be had....I'm also a believer, so I would use a Christian Counselor...But that's just me....
I agree with adhd32
Submitted by AdeleS6845 on
I agree with the statement: I would advise against listing all his transgressions no matter how valid you feel they are as this will add fuel to the fire. Once a nerve has been touched he will deflect, deny, and minimize each item on your list and turn things around to make things your fault.
Before I divorced my husband, I wrote a letter.
It was three pages long. In it, I tried not to blame him. I had so many feelings that I had kept inside for years. I wanted him to know that I could no longer stay married and had reached the end of my rope.
It made me feel better to write it, but giving it to him did no good. Right up until the end, he was oblivious to how his behavior had affected me and our marriage. He simply didn't see it. And because no one else saw it, it may as well never have happened. My letter became something he could use against me.
These days, I Journal to myself, via my email account. I am able to get my feelings out, and it helps me work through some issues.
"Let it go! Let it go!"
Submitted by SweetandSour on
Don't give him the letter. If he hasn't "gotten" it all this time, he's not going to from the letter. It sounds like the length and the multiple issues would make it near impossible for him to process. Write some more to unburden yourself - he won't "know", but it may still help you. I write a lot to my husband - on paper, draft e-mails, draft texts that I never send and it really helps me. Or discuss the letter with a counselor so you have told someone who will not judge you. And don't worry about others' judging you. Mostly, they won't - or not to the extent you imagine. Your conduct and kindness will speak for themselves more loudly than your words. Try not to put your daughter in the middle even by defending yourself - it's not necessary for your relationship with her. Your commitment to her is to be a good mom which I'm sure you are. You don't have to justify everything you do. You can say something like, "I tried the best I knew how at the time, but your father and I just couldn't live together peacefully any more. I think we're all better off this way." And, of course, make sure you tell her that none of it is her fault and that you both love her very much. If she reports to you that he's saying bad things about you, just say "It sounds like he's feeling hurt and angry. This is a difficult time for all of us."
I really know how you feel because I've felt the same way about my DH's family, worrying about what they think of me, but my sister pointed out to me - they've known him for a long time; they know how he is - even if they don't say it out loud they know how difficult your husband is. Besides, YOU know and God knows and it's your life! And your daughter's - which I know you're struggling over the best course of action for her sake , from your past posts, and I completely get where you're coming from there, but you aren't responsible for what anyone else thinks or feels or knows.
Submitted by jennalemone on
Very well said.
Submitted by 1Melody1 on
Just wanted to thank everyone who posted. So very helpful. I will take this advice when the time comes.