I filed for divorce in July because my husband never gave me any emotional or financial help during our three-year marriage. Although he agrees that he was not there for me, he wants another chance, but I cannot bring myself to do it. I have started seeing someone else, but my soon-to-be ex-husband refuses to let me go. He actually slept in his car in our apartment complex so he could keep watch and see who came to my door. I don’t know what to do. He is very unstable right now, and I am just confused. I’m trying to be understanding about the situation, but I cannot go back to him after years of him not being there.
You must begin to cherish yourself. If you did, you would have a restraining order in place to protect yourself from your soon-to-be-ex-husband’s stalking. Cherishing yourself would mean that you would refuse to become romantically involved with or marry a man who doesn’t support you emotionally. When you value yourself, you carefully create a mutually agreeable approach to finances long before you say, “I do.” Comprende?
Your almost-ex-husband’s current behavior is a big red flag. It’s important that you manage this problem with respect for yourself and your community. After you have secured the restraining order, tell the property manager and the neighbors that live closest to you. Ask them not to gossip about it. Talk only with a few close friends whose confidentiality is ensured. That way you will report problems to the police, instead of using talk to downplay any of your soon-to-be-ex-husband’s future behavior.
Contact the family member or friend that your nearly ex-husband is closest to and let them know he’s unstable. Ask that person to encourage your ex to meet with a psychotherapist. Without therapy, he cannot mature into someone capable of meeting emotional and financial obligations. That doesn’t mean you should stay with him. But it’s also too soon to be seeing someone else. Your divorce is not complete, and neither are the emotions associated with it. Put your new romance on hold and pour your energy into healing the wounds that led you to marry someone who could not meet you equally in partnership. Remember: You deserve to be cherished, but let that love begin with you.
My husband started therapy a few months ago, and now he is more difficult than ever. He wants to be alone a lot; he’s even shorter-tempered than usual and takes everything I say too personally. Should I suggest that he find another therapist? Or is his behavior a sign that he cannot change? Maybe I should get a divorce?
Put the divorce on hold for now. Good psychotherapy can be messy. Your husband may be struggling to dismantle the facade of who he has been in the world and become more authentic. That’s a good thing. But in the process he must confront emotions, memories, attitudes, choices and fears that he was probably in denial about for decades. Just as the therapist mirrors patience to your husband so your man can be kind enough to himself to heal, you must be supportive, too. Especially because your husband may even become more difficult as he continues in his process. Sometimes, people in therapy unconsciously begin to act out the stages of human development that they missed while growing up. So my suggestion is to make an appointment for yourself with your man’s therapist. At the session, ask for tips on how to transit this period with greater ease. Having ideas based on your husband’s specific issues should bring you the peace you seek.