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Divorce after 36 years – how do I find the courage?

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From Anonymous

I’ve been married 36 years, have 5 children and 5 grandchildren. It has never been a good marriage, but the business of raising children kept me going.

The past ten years have been awful, three marriage counselors, marriage retreats…all this just made it worse. Each try would just show me how awful our marriage was.

My husband is one of those hypocritical Christians. All holy and sweet around others, but mean and hurtful at home. Our children avoid him as much as possible. He had one email/text relationship a few years ago which I discovered. I thought that would be enough to get me to actually make a move. I almost did but was terrified. Now it has evolved to I can’t stand to sleep or have any relations with him. He is very paranoid and locks doors to certain rooms in our house. I had keys but lately he took them and hid them on me.

This past week he has hit me twice. Not hard, but this is a new turn.  I want so badly to divorce him, but am so terrified. How can I get the courage?  I do believe I was a good wife in the past, but so much hurt and bitterness I have completely shut down. What can I do…I need help.

[This question was originally posted in this conversation. ~ Eds.]

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