How to move on - A one sided divorce

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I am 28 years old and I have been married for almost 5 years. The beginning of the marriage was rough. I told my husband I didn't love him. He struggled understanding why I didn't want to be intimate with him as often as he did - I regret giving him the answer of I didn't love him as that was not true. Time went on, his pornography addiction surfaced. I handled that so poorly, I didn't support him and made him feel like it was his problem, not mine. He went to counseling, he asked me to go and I didn't want to go, I was hurt by the situation and I just wanted him to fix it. Fast forward a year. I realized I was basically a monster in the beginning and begged for his forgiveness. Life went on, but it seemed the damage of the things I did and said in the beginning were always lingering. Every big fight we had ended with him putting divorce on the table. We had some good times and long periods where we got along great. We also struggled communicating and resolving conflict. How I acted in the beginning had hardened his heart, and he didn't love me anymore. I really don't know why I acted the way I did in the beginning. Hard time adjusting to marriage? Unable to answer his questions about intimacy? Didn't understand myself what the deal was? Whatever it was, it was my fault. Fast forward another year. Things still went on, fights were had, divorce was brought up, but I never wanted to divorce and I had always been able to plead my case and he would stay, I loved him and that first year was haunting us. He couldn't let it go, and I couldn't really blame him - it didn't matter how many good times we had or how happy we were for any period, it always came back to that and divorce always seemed to be an answer to our problems for him. About a month ago we had an argument. This time divorce was the answer for him. We were living in West Virginia at the time, and he moved back to Utah in with his parents. I found my own place in Utah. We are now living two hours apart. I miss him terribly. I want so badly for him to be able to see into my heart and understand how I am feeling. To him, the marriage is over. No part of him wants to try again. He feels that we are incompatible and probably should not have been married in the first place. I sit here and realize that it was my fault in the beginning for being terrible - but honestly, is giving up on our marriage at this point the answer? Can't all wounds be healed with the atonement? I have written him emails apologizing for the past and have been very specific with what I should have done differently, I have made promises. If you have been in the situation of a one sided divorce you know that you want to do anything you can to salvage the marriage, you think there is something you could do or say that would change your husband's mind, but it really doesn't seem like anything will. We don't have any children and it seems terrible that once things are final we will move apart in life. Nothing is holding us together. There is no reason our paths would cross. Our five years of marriage will just be a memory and nothing else. Where do you even go from here? This hurt and loneliness seems unbearable. 

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Can't all wounds be healed with the atonement?


Hi Divorcedat28 -


Yes!  But there are a couple of caveats: a) we can't control when, b ) we can't control how, and c) we can't control whether the victims of our conduct choose to take advantage of the Atonement to facilitate their own healing.


I practice a bit of divorce law, which means my professional expertise is in the legalities of ending marriages; not the hard work of saving them.  But for what it's worth, I was at a continuing education seminar recently where a mental health professional claimed that it usually takes about five years to emotionally "get past" a divorce; and that the person who requests the divorce/begins legal process is typically the equivalent of three years into that process already.  If that's correct, then that may explain some of your husband's thought processes--in his mind, emotionally speaking, the marriage ended three years ago.  Logically, then, a future relationship with you would involve starting over from scratch rather than mere rebuilding.  So my suggestion would be that your best chance for a future with him involves courting him, not holding on to him. 


And, yeah; it might not work.  In fact--statistically--it probably won't.  But if not, you'll have gained some insights that will be a huge benefit to you in all of your future personal and professional relationships.

Edited by Just_A_Guy
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Guest LiterateParakeet



I'm sorry for your pain.  To be fair, we are only hearing your side of the story--but from that it seems like you have done everything possible to save your marriage.  I'm so sorry that things have turned out the way they have.


You don't have any control over whether or not your husband forgives you (beyond what you have already done), but you can use the Atonement in your own healing.  So this article is for you (not him).  I hope you will find comfort in it.

Edited by LiterateParakeet
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It hurts me a little to hear you blame yourself so intensely.  Not that it isn't good to take responsibility and not that it's not normal for what you are going through now, but it just seems like there was a lot more going on that just your hurtful reactions.


I mean  when you are in a marriage with porn addiction hiding in the undercurrents, it's hard to know how to react.  You know something is wrong....that something hurts...that you don't feel loved or safe.  But you don't know what it is.  Stuff comes out your mouth before you've really got a hold of what it all means and what the enemy really is.  And then the truth of his addiction comes out and of course your defenses are going to go up!  It's like learning your house is on fire and you are stuck inside.  And somehow you are expected to be calm and supportive? I mean you can't do that until you feel safe again.  Right?  I mean did he ever try to make you safe or was he so focused on his own needs in those early days?  Yeah...maybe you could have handled it better but give yourself a little compassion. 


And let me say this, at least in my experience, men who struggle with porn also tend to struggle with distorted and exaggerated fears about rejection and expectations about being loved.  Wives are not suppose to have feelings or needs.   She's suppose to be there for him.  Period.   So when she has her own struggles or gets hurt by his behavior...he experiences a narcissistic wound of sorts and the resentment builds.  It's like she becomes objectified as having all the responsibility for his needs/comfort, etc, and therefore his scapegoat when things do go perfectly.  Going to therapy sounds good, but if he was trying to use that as another way to blame you or control to make you into object, I can see why your insides might have resisted.


 If any of this was going on with you two, it would make sense why resentments would resurface and why he couldn't forgive you. That distorted thinking doesn't allow for mistakes or repairs.  It doesn't allow for the other person to learn, grow, or regroup with better information. It's absolute.  Once you blow it, it's over.  He sees the weakness and withdraws his love.  Just like he did to himself when he saw his own weakness.  And just like he might do with the next person.


I have no idea if what I've offered is relevant to your situation, but whatever happened, I'm sorry he wasn't able to empathize with what you went through...see how his behavior might have contributed to your pain or imbalanced reactions.  And I'm sorry he couldn't forgive you.  It sounds like you've tried everything humanly possible to make things better.  May angels attend you as your mourn this loss. But don't have kids and you are 28!  You have your whole life ahead of you.  It's probably so hard to see the hope but maybe this divorce is a blessing.  I think good things will come to you.

Edited by Misshalfway
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Sorry for what you're going through.


Know that whatever the outcome, you will be okay, just take a step at a time. There are so many support groups out there with many others going through the exact same thing that you are. Best wishes. 

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A couple of observations that may or may not be of any help at all, from a guy who's been divorced and for whom some of what the OP said rings familiar...


  • It seems like the husband has done an absolutely thorough job of convincing her that all of the problems are ultimately her fault.  He's probably either convinced himself of this as well, or is using it to shield himself from having to look honestly at his own failings.
  • The divorce threat seems to have been used as a lever, or perhaps a club.  
  • It's entirely possible that he's just a jerk, or it may be that these manipulations have arisen as a coping mechanism for something she's done.  I'm not talking about the "I don't love you" thing at the beginning.  This kind of pattern comes from a long history of issues, not one singular moment.
  • If he's truly given up, then it's over.  If, on the other hand, he moved back with mom & dad just to prove he means business, then it might be that the divorce  threat mallet quit being so effective and so he had to up the ante.  If that's the case, then he hasn't given up, he just wants some concession or another that she's unable/unwilling to provide.  That concession may or may not be a reasonable one.

divorcedat28:Thing is, and this is just my useless advice... You're in a no-win scenario, my friend.  Right now, your "victory condition" is to get him to get back together with you, and you've said you're willing to do anything to make that happen.  What that means is that even if you get what you want, you'll be living with a man who has demonstrated a willingness to manipulate you through the threat of divorce.  You give him what he wants, he does you the "favor" of staying married to you.  You cross him, and out comes the divorce card.


It may be that he's had a history of living with a person suffering from Narcissistic Personality Disorder, because the type of manipulations he seems to be using against you are typical side effects of being exposed to such a person for an extended period of time.  Perhaps a previous relationship, or a parent in his life had NPD and he's been damaged by it.  I used to be guilty of acting like that myself before I realized what I was doing and stopped.  My first wife had a severe case of NPD and I've observed some of the same side effects in our kids.  Fortunately for me, my current wife was very understanding of my issues as I was working them out, and we're very strong together now.


If you have any chance at all of saving that marriage, then you need to be able to reunite with him with an equal level of "power" in the marriage.  If I'm right about his having dealt with an NPD sufferer, then he's going to need counseling most likely as well.  He mustn't be able to hold the divorce threat over you to get you to do what he wants.  Period.  Living under the Sword of Damocles is no way to having a healthy and fulfilling marriage, no matter how well you might be able to cope with the issues involved.  So either he needs to learn not to manipulate you in this way, or you need to be ready to call his bluff if he threatens divorce again.

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  • 2 weeks later...


You don't have any control over whether or not your husband forgives you (beyond what you have already done), but you can use the Atonement in your own healing.  So this article is for you (not him).  I hope you will find comfort in it.


Thank you!

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Thank you all for your kind words. It is a tough situation and I know many people go through something similar and come out the other side...but somehow it doesn't really comfort you during all of the lonely days and nights and this terrible adjustment period. 

Its sad. The whole situation is sad. Going to a family ward is really weird. 

It is sad that he is ok with never talking again, he talks about being excited about a fresh start. 

I suppose we all go through a "denial" stage where we have false hope about the one leaving changing their mind. That is the stage I am in. Hopefully I can come out the other side of this tunnel. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hey I'm 28 too! Been married about the same amount of time. And all I got to say is while I have some empathetic points I will make, if my wife would have told me after our sealing in the temple that she did not love me... Sister your lucky you lasted that long with him. Of course he is going to be tempted by porn if you are never having sex. He sees all these attractive girls all the day long and even is married to one that sleeps in his bed but he can't get a dopamine and adrenaline spike from sex. At least you did not have kids.


You see my dear the most misunderstood benefit about adrenaline is that it is the "bonding chemical". Much like when newborns and mother breast feed, adrenaline follows through the brains of baby and mother forming deeper emotional and spiritual bonds. If mother and baby never do that their bond is not as strong. There is a bunch of science you could read about that but basically he never "establish that bond" with you while in your marriage infancy. Hence his brain offers the counterfit and tells him, "Oh you're anxious because your wife has no libedo and you need a dopamine spike? Well I know what can solve that...[scanning]" I'm not justifying his sin, nonetheless it is a natural response in such a situation to release anxiety, which he reverted to from his earlier childhood expierience, because before your sexual relationship with him the only other one he knew was porn--or other women if he was promiscuous.


Choices have consequences. If my mother thought meat and protein where harmful to my health when I was a child and never feed me properly, and now I am consequently 4 inches shorter than what I could have been, can she be sorry? I may forgive her, but there is no way for me to regain those lost 4 inches. Just like with you, you may regret the first year but perhaps permanent harm was done. And you must live with the consequences.


The only reason it lasted 5 whole years is because you had developed a "functioning marriage"--division of labor, ease of finance, companionship preferable to loneliness, etc. But everytime you got to the deepest level of communication--validation--all sincere attempts were squashed from past trauma. Could he have gotten over it and forgave you and you had to go on living a happy marriage? Yes, perhaps he could have reconciled those feelings. But did that happen? No. :(


Bottom line is that when you were married you had some issues--lack of empathy. Ohh the risks of getting married before your prefrontal cortex is fully functioning (24 for women, 25 for men)...I've been there. He is gone. The first women that meets him on a healthy validating conversation he will gravitate too--which probabaly has already happened.  I empathize with you. There was a time in my life when I lacked self knowledge and empathy and hurt people I loved and she left me (before marriage). Like you, I felt like a monster. So when she left she was justified and I knew it. It was the natural consequence of my behavior.


Where do you go from here? Inward. Toward Christ. I testify he can bind up emotional wounds, he has for me. You need more empathy and self knowledge to make sure the result is different next time. But for your ex-husband. Girl 'he gone'. Good luck.

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