I have been married for almost 14 years to a man that I'm not sure I ever even loved. We have 2 children together, 2 boys (ages 7 and almost 13), and I have a daughter (17) from a previous relationship.
My husband is a very controlling, strict, anal-retentive type person, and I have given up trying to make him happy. He and my daughter hate each other, my daughter is a rebellious teenager experimenting with things that a lot of teenagers do. My husband doesn't understand her, and we fight all the time about it. We basically don't see eye-to-eye on anything, our priorities are different, and we're both miserable.
We've tried therapy a couple of times, and the last time we went (a couple of months ago), I made it clear that I was fed up, I'd finally gotten to the point where I felt I was brave enough to get a divorce, and he was shocked. For the first time he realized that I was serious (I'd threatened many times), and that there were definite attitudes and behaviors of his that I couldn't stand. He firmly believes that it would be best for us to stay together, and therefore tried really hard for a couple of months to change his behavior.
But.... I have never believed we'd be together forever. I've always felt that we aren't compatible and that when the kids were gone, we'd have nothing. A couple of months ago, I felt like I could hide my true feelings (the fact that I don't love him), and that if he was just a nicer person, I could at least be content until the kids were a little older. I also felt that men are a pain in the butt, who needs them, I'd rather live alone for the rest of my life. I truly believed that.
Unfortunately, I don't believe that any more. I'm 44 years old, and I'm madly in love with someone I've known since I was 20. We worked together years ago, and I always counted him as a dear friend, always felt that he was my favorite person in the whole world.. It wasn't until the past few months that things took a romantic turn. He feels the same way, and is also in a bad marriage. His wife is ill, though, so there's less a chance that he would end his marriage. He's also 1000 miles away. So.... it's not like I believe I'd get out of one marriage and into another.
I do believe, though, that I'd be happier on my own, without having to worry about what mood my husband will be in when I get home. I'm much happier when he's out of town, I'm not attracted to him in the least, and I've been avoiding any kind of intimacy for a couple of months. The idea of actually being intimate with him is totally unappealing. So what am I doing? His bad behavior is coming back (my friend says it's due to nonookyitis), and I can't stand living with him.
Problem is, I feel guilty and scared. Yes, I believe (as do all my friends) that he mentally abused me and my daughter for years. But I feel guilty because I just don't love him, and I'm not sure if I ever did. What I feel for my lover is so much more deeper, we communicate about everything, and I've never felt this way about anybody else. So, of course that makes me feel guilty too. And I'm scared because he's threatened that he will fight me for full custody of our boys, using my daughter's indescretions as proof that I'm a bad mom.
Also, there's the financial aspect. We have a fairly large home that would need some repairs done before it would be sellable. Including replacing carpet that he says I'd have to pay for, since it was my daughter who ruined it (in her room). Plus, I'm not sure I understand separation, how do people afford separate residences before their house is sold, what would be the first move, etc?
And another thing... finding the right lawyer. This is going to be ugly - I know my husband, and he won't be thinking about doing what's best for everyone, being kind, thinking of the kids, getting help, doing this in a civil manner. He's going to fight me, he's got more money than me - he'll find the best lawyer around. I've already consulted with 3, and gotten different stories from all 3. The first one was supposed to be the toughest and best divorce lawyer around, but I hated him. Very expensive too. I was told to go to him so my husband couldn't. The second one I went to I absolutely love, she assured me that he would be held partially responsible for my debt (he keeps our money separate, and won't give me any of his without a fight, so I've run up balances on charge cards), although anything related to my daughter he won't be responsible for, since he never adopted her. She gave me a good feeling, I felt she'd get me what I deserve. Unfortunately, she is now a judge and no longer handles divorce cases. So I met with her replacement, and hated her.
Now I'm back to square one.... don't know what to do, where to do, if I'm doing the right thing. I decided to do a search on "women contemplating divorce" on google, and this site was the first thing that came up. I feel like I need some support. Why do I feel guilty? I'm not happy, I deserve to be happy - right? Or am I being selfish, should I remain in this marriage, give him want he wants, for the boys? It breaks my heart when I think of my daughter and how much better off she'd have been if I'd married someone who is kind and thoughtful, like my oldest and best friend in the world. I feel like it's too late for her, but what kind of message is she getting? She knows about this "friend," she knows I'm unhappy, and she feels unwelcome in her own home.
My dream is to live at the beach, own a cafe, and live the way I want. Less stress, more laid back. That'll never happen if I stay in this marriage. Actually, I don't know if the beach or cafe will ever happen, I'll probably never be able to afford it. But I need less stress, and a more easy-going atmosphere.
Any help would be appreciated. Oh, by the way, I've also been considering lately the possibility of writing a novel about my experiences. It's kind of a coincidence that this is a writers' website!