Don’t let spouse call all the shots
QUESTION: My husband of 15 years recently said that he’s no longer in love with me and needed time to figure things out.
He’s staying with his brother. Our two sons and I are in the family home which is now for sale.
He rarely visits and only talks about the kids or the house. Now, he’s more convinced that it’s over for good.
He said that it’s because I keep bringing it up and never gave him space. He’s detached and wants to move on.
Is there any chance if I stop talking about us and give it some time?
He doesn’t want a divorce, just to separate legally, presumably because it’s cheaper.
How should I proceed? I’ve told him that I love him and don’t want to lose our family. — Devastated
ANSWER: Red flags — he’s calling all the shots: To separate instead of divorce, and to not allow you to even talk about your relationship.
I can’t help but think he may’ve already moved on, and there’s another future partner waiting in the wings.
Even if not so, you must talk to a lawyer, and learn your rights and what suits your needs.
It’s shocking that the house where his and your children live, is already for sale. Get your own legal advice about that immediately to review if that’s the right thing for you and the kids.
See your bank manager, and an accountant or financial adviser (not one working with him), and ask about your joint bank accounts and any assets/investments.
By him not allowing discussion, the absence of marital counselling, and you focusing only on wanting him back, you’ve so far ignored all the practical considerations that’ll affect your future and that of your children.
Don’t be afraid to confront him with strength of purpose and informed knowledge about what’s involved.
Even if you still love him, he needs to know that he’s dealing with an equal whose future is also at stake, not just his.
QUESTION: I’ve been dating a woman for three years, both in our 50s.We met when she was going through a divorce (still processing).
Our relationship was initially beautiful, then she experienced crashes of intense depression, which I faced with great patience (sometimes wondering if the numerous medications were really helping).
Last summer, I had to work elsewhere for a month and she wouldn’t keep contact. When I returned, I was restricted to seeing her only on specific days.
She said, I need a break in order to make our union strong. And, I’d like to put you in the freezer and take you out when I’m ready.
She wants no commitment, with me waiting until she’s ready to be my girlfriend. What should I do? — Going Through Hell ANSWER: Like a mirror opposite to the above question, this time it’s the woman being the controller and you kept hoping.
While children and property aren’t involved here, the effect is the same. You’re left in the dark about what’s really going on:
Has she met another man? Have any of the people treating her depression (doctor? therapist?) said she’s not capable now of making a long-term connection?
Whatever the answer, she should be sharing it with you. Instead, she’s issuing orders, putting up road blocks, insulting you with her freezer comment.
I’m inclined to say, walk away. But if you still love her, and have compassion for her depression, tell her so. Then set a timeline for the break, one that feels reasonable for you. You have a life to settle, too.
QUESTION: My 26-year-old son is a great, wellliked, loving, person who’s continually afraid of being hurt by me.
I’m a regular mom with a sharp tongue. He told me that he dreads any text or communication from me because it’ll hurt him.
He’s now afraid of his girlfriend, whom he loves and wants in his life. I can see the damage I’ve done to his psyche but don’t know what to do.
ANSWER: First: apologize to him. Tell him that you recognize now that your sharp tongue was/is harsher than you realized, and you want to correct the damage you caused that has him fearing you and his girlfriend.
Then, get to counselling soon, and gain understanding of why you were so sharp-spoken to your child, and are apparently still too harsh.
Later, ask him to join you in therapy to get help for your ongoing relationship, and for his future one. ELLIE’S TIP OF THE DAY When a spouse decides unilaterally to separate, get legally and financially informed, fast.