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Spouse Threatens Divorce One Too Many Times

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Couple arguing on city street
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Threats of Divorce:

Megan’s husband has spent years threatening divorce every time he gets upset. She has finally had enough and decided that she wants a divorce. What should she do now that her husband has turned into the ultimate nice guy?

Question:

When my husband gets mad at me, he threatens a divorce. He has done this for years on end and I’ve lived with the fear that he was one day going to leave. I’m finally through with being afraid and realize that I want out of this marriage. Now that I’ve started divorce proceedings the guy who threatened divorce so often is being super nice. He is buying me roses, crying and begging me not to leave. He has done this before and when I change my mind things go back to the way they used to be. Him getting pissed and yelling at me that he wanted divorce.

I plan to go ahead with the divorce but I can’t help but wonder why someone would cry divorce so often if that isn’t what they really want.

Megan

Answer:

Megan, holding a marriage together takes some knowledge of how to handle problems as they arise. It takes relationship skills and I’m afraid not everyone is equipped with the skills needed to solve relationship problems.

It sounds like your husband thinks that threatening to take his love away from you will solve whatever problem he sees as an issue in the relationship. When I read your question, I thought of that old saying, "be careful what you ask for." It would seem your husband is getting exactly what he has ask for so many times but doesn’t really want.

It is too bad that he didn’t learn, somewhere down the line that threatening to withhold love does not fix relationship problems. Hopefully, if you go through with the divorce it will be a wake up call for him and he won’t take the same attitude into his next relationship and marriage.

I would like to make a suggestion. You have decided that you don’t want to go back to the status quo, that you are going ahead with the divorce. What if your husband’s actions are genuine this time though? What if you filing for divorce is the push he needed to help him realize that he needed to make some changes?

Maybe you could continue on with the divorce process. For example, you need to take note of joint accounts, handle the division of marital property and such. While doing this the two of you could live separately and during this time you may be able to view the situation with him more objectively.

If the changes he has made in his behavior are genuine then they will continue throughout your separation and the divorce process. He may have truly seen the error of his ways and finding this out may play a role in whether or not you want to finalize a divorce or give your marriage a second chance.

If, in the end you decide to give the marriage another try set a list of healthy relationship skills, a list that will include constructive ways of dealing with problems in the marriage as they arise. If he has truly changed he will be more than willing to live by the boundaries you set and to learn new relationship skills.

If he goes back to his old tricks of using unhealthy ways of dealing with problems then get your divorce and move on to a new life with a new partner who is mature enough to maintain a healthy marriage.

Good Luck!

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