Husband facing painful divorce after 22 years of marriage

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Hi Gilbert

Just wanted to share my story.

After  trying to work things  out over the last few years, my wife of 22 years and a friend for 32 years has decided to call it quits and asked for a divorce.

Although I am not keen for it to proceed, knowing my wife…once a decision is made…there is usually no turning back … as she would have thought through most angles and seeked advice prior to even broaching the subject ,  She feels that we share very little in common and our  souls do not  resonate with each other…. I think we have both changed significantly over the years. I guess we have also drifted apart slowly but surely all these years with nothing much to share in common.

She has become a lot more spiritual / wanting to connect with the inner being while I have progressed less so in  that  direction. She probably has also been able to meet and befriend more like minded  beings in her work and studies.

Unfortunately, she is not keen on counseling –  I have suggested this many times in the past but she felt that we should come to a realisation with individual work first.

She feels that there is also an element of perhaps we were not meant to be  married in the first place. Although we were married in a church, she feels that God may not have actually wanted it  to happen and that’s why the incompatibility  and  difficulties now .   She does not see a future for a US……… is keen to be free to pursue her passions  and thus be true to her soul desire.

While she has asked for a divorce, she has given me the choice to respond with either a yes or no. If No….. likely to be a slow  erosion of whatever relationship there is left now. If yes, the potential for new friendship from the rubble of a past failed relationship?

Either way,  a difficult decision and with uncertain effects on the children. We have 2 kids – aged  15 and  18 years. Relationship with the children ok with both of us. No custodial issues so far.  

We are financially independent, with both contributing to the upkeep of the family.  There is no 3rd party involved for either of us at the moment and we are keen to foster a healthy co-parenting relationship.

Proposal is to stay living in separate rooms, in the same household and  try to be friendly and cordial in our adult interactions…divorce will be an acknowledgment..that, emotionally and legally,  we cannot carry on being spouse to each other.

She feels strongly that we may be better friends once we agree to work toward an amicable divorce settlement. My take is that we can live as co-parents in an imperfect marriage without need for  an actual divorce.

Of course, this is just my desired intention and if she doesn’t agree, there is little that I can do to change her decision. The last  few  years have been painful, confusing and yet offered opportunities for self reflection, growth and development.

Many thanks.



Hi Frankie,

Thanks for your mail and sorry to hear about your predicament.

People do change and sometimes couples start to drift apart when we live our life too differently from each other.

Women especially are more prone to such changes and sometimes they may want to try something new and different especially when the relationship stays flat  for many years.

I always feel that our modern lifestyle coupled with the time spent on bringing up our kids may  have hinder couples from spending more time together.

I only wish that you have spend more time speaking with your wife to stay in the marriage as divorce does affect the kids even though they have all grown up.

I also wonder how you both can co-parent your kids well even  after divorce by  staying  together under the same roof. The dynamics are just not there  as the kids  will know that both of you don’t share the same passions and relationship anymore.

Personally, I always feel that kids having both sets of parents at their side will grow up more balanced and secured. However, I have also see kids from dysfunctional family setting growing up to be responsible matured adults.

The key thing I feel is to stay in constant touch with your kids after the divorce. Some parents have also enjoy a new relationship with their kids after that as both parties begin to cherish whatever time they have together.

Sometimes, absence does make the heart grows fonder!

I also wonder if you can stay as friends with your ex-spouse, after the divorce,  as sometimes after a while of separation both parties begin to flame the romance again and some even re-marry!

Like you, I  feel that a couple  can live together as spouses in an imperfect marital situation but somehow women tend to have a different perspective on this.

Perhaps, women are idealistic creatures and they feel things more emotionally than us men. Their nurturing instinct also makes them more prone to  seeing changes in people  and they feel frustrated when this could not be done.

They could not move on when something is amiss and this pricks them till they decide on a course of action. Many also aspire to  have a new lease of life especially if  they  feel trapped in an unadventurous and  boring relationship.

For guys, having a family is good enough even though there may be problems here and there. Men feel more anchored when they have a family to be responsible to. Sometimes, the mere fact that they are married and have kids is enough for them to keep the marriage going  despite the ups and downs of a relationship. This is the reason  why many men, after a divorce, feel very lost and disconnected emotionally.

Do bear in mind that this is not how a woman approaches any relationship and this perhaps is the great gender mismatch we have here.

I hope that I have given you enough to chew on and the decision to divorce or not is entirely up to you.

Do email me what you feel about my response. Always look on the positive side even though the whole situation looks very adverse. Try to use the glass half full response if possible so that things will not seem as bad as it looks.

Many people have live meaningful lives after their painful divorce and the same thing can happen to you. Nevertheless, the first few years can be painful and even overwhelming – so its good to stay prepared and seek help if possible.

Take care and stay strong. Cheers.

Thanks & Warmest Regards,

Gilbert Goh

PS: Some parts of the story were changed to protect the identity of the people involved.


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