Fear of the unknown Hot Conversation

Here goes.  How do you tell someone you’ve been married to for 33 years that you want a divorce? I’m afraid of his reaction. I don’t know if we would be able to talk things over rationally or if he would lose it.  Should I be face to face, alone, or have someone with me? Should I leave and have him served with papers? Don’t know where to start.  How did you ladies get through it?

Divorce After 50: How to Save Yourself and Lose Him
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Posted in family & relationships.

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17 Responses

  1. Generic Image pg58 says

    It can feel overwheming.  For me it has been a long 3 year process.  Divorce will be final in a few days.   It took him a long time to realize what was happening even though he originally precipitated it.  LONG story  Wish I could give you a perfect way but it is so individual.  I will think of you and know you will have the best way to approach this.

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    • Generic Image Darcy09 says

      Do the deed in a public place, lunch, coffee, somewhere where you will have a neutral zone.  It is best not to be alone and at home.  Too much “stuff” memories of battles, family gatherings, etc.  Just ensure you are in a public location.  AND do not be confrontational nor contribute a great deal to the conversation.  LISTEN to what he says and gather information that will be useful to you or your safety.  Think safety first then go forward.

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  2. Sienna Jae Fein Sienna Jae Fein says

    wodzy – If you have already made him aware of your discontent he may be more prepared than you think. However, if a divorce announcement would come as a huge surprise, you would be wise to avoid the D word until you have had some preparatory conversations in which you more gently communicate that the marriage is dragging you down. 

    Unless you are physically afraid of him, including a third party in a divorce discussion seems unfair. Having someone else there while you attempt to talk about the end of a shared 33 years seems somehow disrespectful. 

    Here’s a suggestion: tell him — carefully — that the marriage is unhappy and unfulfilling for you, and say you wonder if maybe it is for him also. Say you don’t know what to do about it and ask him what he thinks could be done to solve the problem.

    Men are fixers. Being told stuff they can’t do anything about makes them feel powerless and manipulated, and I don’t have to tell you how dangerous that is. Instead of making him furious by wounding his pride, invite him into the process. There’s always the possibility he’ll say, “Oh, yeah?! Well, if you’re that unhappy, go get a divorce!”     

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    • Generic Image wodzy says

      Thanks for the advice.  We do talk still, but he has a way of talking me out of things. I’ve told him that I’ve given so much of myself that I don’t feel like me anymore. He knows I’m unhappy. He’ll hate me if I leave, and if I stay much longer I’ll hate myself. Need to decide which is worse.

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      • watermusic watermusic says

        That’s a no brainer, hating yourself is worse.  Seeing a couselor will help. He or she can be the backbone and support you need.  There’s a ton of advice about getting divorced here. Have a plan in place before you say anything would be a good start. That means a seperate bank account, a place to stay.  Doing those things will give you confidence.

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  3. marshab marshab says

    wodzy…. you say, “I want a divorce.”

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  4. marshab marshab says

    wodzy , one more thing. If you don’t want to deal with the drama and you want to detach then I would suggest having him served papers. Think about it, if you want to deal with the emotionalism, negative actions or drama then tell him in person. Personally, I think serving him papers would have a much more better effect on the situation.  Actions speak louder than words in this case.

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  5. watermusic watermusic says

    None of this applies if there’s abuse…I think that after 33 years of marriage it deserves  a face to face conversation at the very least. I know a couple of people who had divorce dumped on them unexpectedly and the result is not pretty.  The best advice I ever got came from my ex husband, leave with a good taste in your mouth.  That means not pulling the rug out from under someone.  Sienna gave you some really good advice. 
    My ex husband knew we were getting divorced. He didn’t want to be married,but was struggling to accept the divorce.  One of the hardest and best things I did was leave with compassion for both of us.   The other thing I did was see a good counselor to help steer my way through the process.  
    Whatever you decide, good luck.

    1 like

  6. Magnolia Miller Magnolia Miller says

    I’m not of the one-size-fits-all approach to how to end a marriage.  I’m in the process of legally separating now.
    We’ve been easing into it for months.  We had even begun negotiating finances and dividing up assets and child custody arrangements.
    Everything seemed to “civil” and “modern” in how well we seemed to be working it out.  Then, I actually went to the attorney and filed for a legal separation.
    All of that “civility?”  Out the window.
    Truthfully, I don’t think you can predict how people are going to respond.  For us, I think my husband was still in deep denial and perhaps hanging onto some silly notion that I wasn’t REALLY going to follow through.
    Once he realized I really meant everything I’ve been saying for almost 2 years (yes, we’ve been going through this THAT long), he pulled out the big guns and decided we were going to war. :)
    I say follow your gut and your heart.  You know your marriage and relationship better than anyone here.  We can share out stories and offer some support, but at the end of the day, it’s your decision.

    3 like

  7. Generic Image pg58 says


    So TRUE!!

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  8. Generic Image Dragonfly says

    I have a much worse situation in that I have been married for 44 years and just filed last week (awaiting service of papers on him). We have been separated for the last four and I actually filed once before but withdrew the petition when he agreed to counseling. However, the counseling never happened, the infrequent communication diminished even further and I finally realized that I can never go back to being his wife. But when I withdrew the first petition and we resumed our bizarre separation, he was warned by everyone who knew of the situation that if he didn’t change his tune and begin to have real conversations with me that the odds were that I would refile. It seems he just didn’t believe that I would actually do it again so when he gets served later this week, it will hit him like a frieght train. (“How could she do this to me again?”) But I honestly gave it all I had to give and he gave nothing so I just have to move on and try to make a life for myself. We go to court in two weeks (temporary orders)  so it will be interesting to see if he makes any effort to defend himself this second time around.

    1 like

  9. Magnolia Miller Magnolia Miller says

    I read a book once, written by a man, talking about how men tend to respond in marital problems.
    I’ll never forget what he said: “Most men won’t do anything to fix marital problems until there is a crisis.”
    I will never understand why it is that some men won’t act or show any concern whatsoever for their wives, their families, and their marriages until somebody pulls the damn rug out from under them.

    2 like

  10. Shannon Ingram Shannon Ingram says

    Think NIKE and just do it.

    2 like

  11. Generic Image MWFhappy50 says

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  12. Gardenia Gardenia says

    I am carefully reading, because after 37 years my husband has made it very clear he prefers the Russian women on his Facebook page, non-communication, living on opposite sides of house, and totally refuses requests for couples counseling for years, we have not had marital relations since 1990. He never accounts to me for his money, or his time away from the house, but wants every detail of where I am going and why, I left for two years and he called me constantly.  I asked him why, and he said it was so I wouldn’t be lonely.  I found that hard to believe as I’ve always been lonely even while living with him.  I have always made my own way until I was forced to retire because of health. He was doubly angry after my health declined to the point of nearly dying.  However, I battle more with fear as I only have my social security to live on and no money for a long drawn out battle to try to get some alimony.  I have checked senior services who referred me to Legal Aid and I am told that.community property laws mean nothing unless one has the money to hire a lawyer and fight for it.  The only thing they will do for me is assist me in filling out the divorce papers for me to file at the courthouse.  I live in Florida.  The whole marriage has been miserable, my health is gone, yet I manage to keep a modicum of personal happiness with a whole lot of work and going to counseling on my part and I at least have a modest roof over my head and his medical insurance, although I found he lied to me about retirement – he does not even have any retirement saved through his work.  The house is falling down around us.  He has always made a fight out of everything.  Opens my mail, even hides it.  I can never believe anything he says.  I am most often on my own even now – he will sometimes buy my medications, if he’s in the mood.  I could go on, but you get the picture.  I am seeing a therapist, she agrees that I am living the best way I can, but need a plan B, which is in place – government housing, losing my vehicle, and bankruptcy for the few small bills I have, safety issues if he loses it – so far violence has only been mental and arm twisting.  I am an artist and he does support that, however I do not make any money at it, just sell enough to make 1/2 of my costs.  I do have good friends, thank God.  I have booted him out twice after being humiliated by his porn but he goes to the kids, they feel sorry for him and censure me. I wish I had stuck to my guns when I left  him the first time, I can’t explain why I stayed, the children have suffered in the long run.  I feel as if I’m assigned to a prison sentence till death hits one of us.

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  13. Paula Ellen Paula Ellen says

    Gardenia, your life doesn’t have to be like this. Get yourself to a counselor to discuss what steps to take to have the life you want. You might see a lot of obstacles in the way right now, but an objective party can help you see things more clearly, and support you at the same time. A counselor can help buoy you through this, if you choose to leave and live an independent life.

    Your kids will adjust, so don’t make your decision based on their reaction. When they see how much happier and healthier their mother is when all is said and done, they will understand that it was for the best. Children always protect the father, regardless of the sins committed. Men are seen as weaker, and women stronger, so this is a very typical mindset in families. Your counselor can help you understand that as well, and also why you keep going back.

    I wish you all the strength, courage, and wisdom it will take for you to make  your best decision and make it stick. Remember… you are beautiful, intelligent, and talented, and you are complete as you are. You can do this. <3

    1 like

  14. Generic Image Anonymous says

    I understand.  I, casually, dated my EX-SPOUSE for a few year; then married and divorced just before our 24th anniversary. 

    I, too, wondered how and when to do what.  I thought about it; then, decided to suggest that we go to a local restaurant to “talk”.  He started off looking smug; then, he realized that the subject was serious.  I did NOT know what to say.  Finally, I said…just like the song “Every Road has to end somewhere”..we have come to the end of our road.  I then proceeded   that I had spent months trying to decide how our  marriage could end and both of us could be fine (emotionally and financially).  He stated that he did  not want a divorce.  I answered, honestly, by saying “I understand.  If I were you I would not want a divorce”.  At one point, he said that I did not try.  I replied “that I was not going to debate because a debate would only serve to make one of us wrong”.  Bottom line, he cried and I cried…BUT… a few  months later (when our sons were in town) I had the divorce papers served.  I have NO regrets ALTHOUGH there are inconveniences.  I did go to a group http://www.divorcecare.org/ where divorce was discussed, locally at a nominal fee, and I did a lot of praying, researching info re divorce and keeping both persons whole.  It was not easy.  I am, 85% happy and that’s good.  Of course there are times that I reflect on having less money; no date; no shared housework, etc….  BUT THE BIGGEST THING IS I AM GLAD THAT I AM NOT BEING TAKEN FOR GRANTED.  I am no longer what friends described as “alone with company”.  My sons now realize that a marriage is special and should be worked on by both persons (who commit to being companionable, respectful, etc.)

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