Not trying to make a bad guy--but don't want to be one either

I need advice.


I filed for divorce and it should be finalized in March. In the meantime, husband won't leave the house and seems to be in denial about everything. 


I was talking to my daughter and trying to prep her that this IS coming. She asked who was getting the house. I said, "The judge will decide, but probably me because Dad can't afford it."  (Husband hasn't worked in over a year and is not seriously looking for work.) Daughter is upset and defensive about her dad. Husband paints a picture that since I was a stay-at-home mom for many years, I "owe" him now and it's his turn to stay home. The difference, of course, is that I worked my butt off as a stay-at-home mom.  I also started working part-time when the kids were old enough to be home alone.


I'm really trying hard to not disparage my husband. At the same time, I don't want to be the bad guy myself.  I know that in a few years, the kids will see the truth about the situation. But until then, it can be hard to take the high road.  I can't fully explain my reasons for divorce without making him look bad.  In staying quiet, I look selfish and petty instead.


My reasons for divorce in a nutshell: Husband doesn't support the family (either financially or as a competent stay at home dad who takes care of household business/chores), he has and continues to put us at financial risk; his angry outbursts have become more and more frequent, lack of a marriage partnership and emotional intimacy; unfair division of labor, unfinished projects, parent/child dynamic, etc.



You don't mention how old

You don't mention how old your daughter is. Mine is 14 years old. I have educated her about ADHD to the best of my ability. she knows that her father and I love each other and that we have and always will work together to care for her and provide for her. But, she also knows that the ADHD makes it very difficult to have a successful marriage. She sees and senses my stress, hurt, and frustration. She sees and senses his struggles to connect and be a loving husband.  I want her to learn from my mistakes. In my opinion, being honest at an age appropriate level is the best thing you can do. I think it's possible to be honest without being ugly. 

She is 15

She knows about ADHD--both her brothers have it too.  I guess the problem is that honest feels ugly. Last night she was worried about her dad becoming homeless b/c he doesn't have a job and won't be able to afford a new place to live. My answer is that he is a grown, intelligent man capable of working and taking care of himself. It sounds cruel. She thinks family takes care of each other (which I have taught). She doesn't understand enabling yet, though.


The Spin Doctor

I am concerned with this same thing.  My H was a salesperson when he worked and can make or break a thing with words as he "buddies up" with people.  I feel out manuevered by his ability and willingness to call names and sling mud and lie about things that he has and hasn't done.  So, I have the same war going on in my mind on how to speak to my children and grandchildren "about" H and about our marriage. I'm working on the words.  Don't have them yet.

Oh, I can relate to this so

Oh, I can relate to this so much!  I won't go into details, but this is all so familiar.  Here is my suggestion:  Talk to your husband, without the children present, and tell him that it is inappropriate for either of you to share with the children the reasons for the divorce.  Then tell him that you will not be telling the children the reasons for the divorce but that you will tell them that, as in all divorces, both spouses were involved in the breakdown of the marriage but that it is inappropriate for either parent to share with the children what those reasons are.  You and the children might benefit from counseling, and offer it to the children.  

I forgot to mention ......

I forgot to mention ......

my husband and I both talk openly about the situation. I'm not talking about him behind his back and vice versa. We also talk about positive things. My husband has many great qualities along with some struggles. I have good qualities along with some struggles. Our marriage has been good and successful any many ways. 

It is entirely possible that we have shared too much with our kids. Only time will tell. 

Your daughter sounds like she's very kind and compassionate. I hope your whole family can find peace with the changes that are happening. 

Actually, Hopeful Heart, I

Actually, Hopeful Heart, I think the most important thing in this area is that parents' behavior be consistent.  I think it's great that you don't talk behind each other's backs.  Good for both of you!