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Hi, I'm new. I'm 29 and my husband of less than 3 years (we'


Hi, I'm new. I'm 29 and my husband of less than 3 years (we've been together for 7) just asked for a divorce. Right before I had to move for a new international job, we got married to expedite the visa process and increase my pay to support him as he searched for a job in the new city. We also loved each other and believed we would be together a long time, of course. I ended up loving my job and the city. He didn't like it and struggled but I tried to be a supporting partner by providing a happy home life, helping him make new friends and hobbies, offering to financially and emotionally support a plan to start a career or go back to school, planning amazing vacations, and giving him lots of gifts and compliments. The more I thrived in my own professional life (while believing I had an emotionally safe and secure marriage because how could I not when I was so giving), the more I knew I didn't want to go back. He seemed like he was doing well and treated me lovingly, but it turns out he was bottling up growing desperation about us wanting different things. When I heard him talk about missing things at home I thought they were shallow things (e.g. missing old friends, which I understood but thought he could manage with online contact like I did; the music scene and bars; the food) compared to the adventure we were having and a the promise of a good lifetime partner. He'd also complained a lot about his old life so I thought it was more of the same (i.e. he has always hated every job he had including the one he got in this new city; I didn't understand all that well because the boss is incompetent but it was easy work and his co-workers treated us like family). I didn't take it seriously and kept presenting the case for not returning (e.g. we have more money here, can travel like never before, people are kinder, we've made new friends, it's safer, we have more opportunities). I thought I was creating a better life for both of us. I now know that you can't make someone want something they don't, even if it seems like the obviously better choice. People can't be convinced out of what's important to them.

There were other issues as well like me no longer liking his family because of their bigotry, which came out in a shocking way right after we were married. We had gotten along well before and I was looking forward to becoming part of their family but I was devastated and openly angry because much of what they said directly applied to my own background (Not that they understood that. Cognitive dissonance.) My criticism of them of course eroded our relationship, although at the time I thought he was willing to take my side against his parents' racist views. I am also very confident, open, and crave challenge, he is insecure, hides his feelings, and wants an easy going life. But we had a good life, cooking for each other, going on dates, having regular sex, watching shows, fairly splitting chores, joking and chatting and sharing things, adoring our cat (we have no kids).

I was sure we were doing great until a few days ago I found a dating app charge on my credit card. I kicked him out immediately and made him stay with a friend. I actually thought about divorce myself, since I've said multiple times cheating is a dealbreaker for me (although I'm not actually traditional and would have been fine discussing an open marriage. It's more about the betrayal of trust). I went to drop off some of his things the next day at work, and he says he didn't do anything on the app (which I believe) but all this other stuff about his ongoing unhappiness came pouring out and he said he wanted a divorce and was going to leave for our old city immediately. I think he even subconsciously laid the dating charge as a trap because he wanted to force me to break up with him. I was stunned because he had been loving towards me and making plans in our normal life (next vacation, buying him a new bike, helping him find another job) only hours ago and that this was too abrupt for a divorce. He said that he had been trying to be considerate and put me first. I said we should at least try marriage counselling and that I could work on things. He said he was already sure but that I should give him more space, as he felt better being out of the house. So I left it for a bit, then we had another conversation where he filled in more details and I came to understand how unhappy he'd been despite how happy I'd felt, and I knew I wouldn't have wanted to stay in that kind of marriage if the shoe had been on the other foot. And if I gave him what was needed, minimum, for it to work--giving up my career to go back to our old city, putting up with his racist family, pushing down my bold personality--then the shoe would be other other foot indeed. He also said he fell out of love with me and isn't attracted to me anymore (understandable, how can you be attracted to someone you're falling out of love with). While I had believed right up to this happening that I loved him with my whole heart and were soul mates and found him irresistible--now that this is all out, I'm not as destroyed as I should be for that to be true. It's like, I can't love someone when everything I do in honor of that love only makes them miserable.

The upshot is that we're too different for it to work, but tried to do right by each other anyways for as long as we could. I think I am OK for now but I'm stressed about untangling our lives. Overnight, I went from having someone who was my go-to for planning something fun, finding comfort, giving lots of attention and pampering to--to, no one. I'm afraid of the future where I can't recognize a bad match, because as crazy as it sounds, I want to be at least as happy in my next relationship as I was in this one. I am afraid loneliness is going to hit like a ton of bricks eventually. That I will go completely off the rails and fail in my career because I am emotionally distracted. I know that it's not as bad as some of the stories here (no kids, assets, or abuse to deal with). But I never wanted to have the status of "divorced!". How do I keep it all together?

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Dana15's picture
Apr 16

The good thing is you love where you are and what you're doing so when it ends everything else is in place. We all think we need a man to conquer loneliness but I have discovered our women friends can be just as good company while you recover then eventually start dating again. Because you are outgoing try to always have things organised with them to look forward to which will smooth the transition path. Regular meals/movie catch ups, holiday etc.

Apr 16

Thanks Dana, I really appreciate the words of assurance. I think I did get partly absorbed by his lifestyle and became overdependent on his time. I am trying to pursue deeper friendships in this new city, I think I didn't try hard enough when I first got here because I always had my ex to fall back on. I'm glad to hear from someone else I'm not losing anything that can't be replaced with something just as fulfilling.

Apr 17

I’m sorry to hear that. And Dana is right! Luckily you don’t have to deal with kids, which I think will make this much easier(since you don’t have to see or talk to him). It seems that he bottled in his emotions, and eventually released them as resentment towards you. He couldn’t find a place to fit in, meanwhile you were doing the exact opposite. This situation is very unfortunate, but it is for the best. You may not love him now, but you did before, and for that you will always, always care for him to a certain degree. It wouldn’t be fair to him if he stayed and was unhappy..but it is especially not fair for you to give up your new career, new friends, and new city for him. For a relationship to work, both partners need to be happy, with each other and with themselves. And I know it may be hard now..but time heals all (at least I hope, for both our sakes).
So now you DO get to start a new chapter in your life. If we keep looking behind us, to the past, we can’t focus on the present, or future. And it’s critical to let go.
If we were driving, and we kept looking in the rear view.. we’d crash...and have no future.
My rule is one day at a time. I hope this helped even just a little.

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