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DrFee
DrFee, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 437
Experience:  I help people overcome anxiety and enjoy life again.
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I have decided to divorce my second husband. I have 2 children

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I have decided to divorce my second husband. I have 2 children from my first marriage. I think I should tell my children about my intent now, before telling my husband, so they have time to process and discuss this with me. My concern is that once I tell my husband, things will go very quickly.

My 16 yo daughter has mild Aspergers and needs time to adapt to change. My daughter also gets along well with my husband. My son, on the other hand, is 13 and asked me a few months ago if he could move in with his father because he did not get along well with my husband.

That said, I have never liked to burden a child with a secret. If I tell them first, they have to keep it a secret from my husband until I tell him. I have scoured the web, but everything I find about second marriage has to do with creating a step family, not dissolving one. Any suggestions or resources?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  DrFee replied 1 year ago.

DrFee :

Hello! Please remember that my response is for information only, we are not establishing a therapeutic relationship.


 

DrFee :

How long were you thinking of waiting between the time you would tell your children to the time you would tell your husband?


 

DrFee :

And, when you say things will move quickly --how quickly do you think? Will he move our or will you?


 

DrFee :

Hi ---


 

Customer:

Hi, Well, my husband's father died on Monday. I am trying to decide what is a reasonable time to wait out of respect before telling him. so, it might be several weeks. The kids and I will move out, it is his house.

DrFee :

Several weeks makes sense, that's enough time for his routine to return to normal (although not his emotions). How long between when you tell him and when you would move out?

Customer:

That is really up in the air. I have no move out money right now, not sure yet if I will have family help, and I my credit is shot, getting housing will be a challenge, to say the least. He owns this home, once I tell him, he could simply tell us to get out now.

DrFee :

Ah, OK. Unless you are in a situation where it is imperative that you leave quickly --it seems like you need to explore all of your options and have a plan before telling anyone. Is there any reason (other than wanting the marriage to end) that you should act quickly?


 


 

Customer:

I have been in a sexless marriage for many years. The time has come for me to have my physical needs met, too. However, I do not want to be with other people when he does not even know what's coming. also, secret keeping is not a strenghh of mine. Tends to be more stressful.

DrFee :

A sexless marriage is a frustrating way to live.


 

Customer:

Assuming I find it within me to wait until I have things in order before telling anyone else, whom should I tell first, the kids or my husband?

Customer:

(by the way, sex is not the only factor in my decision, just the easiest to explain.)

DrFee :

I will describe the "ideal" situation first and then you can tell me how that won't work ---and then maybe we can figure things out from there. Ideally --you'd tell your husband first and part of the discussion would include how to make the transition the easiest for the kids. It sounds like with your son, it will be a positive (although positive changes are stressful too), but for your daughter it's a big deal in many ways. Ideally, he would work with you to help ease that transition for your daughter, including him talking to her, and working with you to make a plan on how the move out would actually occur. OK --so as you picture him, how will he either cooperate or not cooperate with this, do you think?


 

Customer:

I think he will cooperate. (still thinking...)

DrFee :

OK--take your time


 

Customer:

I'm concerned because this relationship has too many similarities to his first marriage, and how it's ending is no exception. He said that she was preparing to leave slowly, then he didn't like her "behavior" and told her she had to move out immediately.

DrFee :

Do you know what he means by her behavior and preparing to leave slowly?


 

Customer:

He has been completely shut down emotionally for so long, completely cut off from me. I'm not sure if he will stay that way, or if anger will erupt. He holds everything inside until he pops. (no fear of physical violence, though.)

Customer:

He was mad about what her lawyer asked for. Mad that she was taking things out of the house. Mad because she was having an affair, (their marriage was sexless as well). Mad that she took the dog. Hurt and resentful that she asked for the divorce on their son's 18th birthday.

Customer:

Basically, I think he will want me to pretend that everything is normal and fine between us until the day I leave. I just can't do that.

DrFee :

The timing of his father's death is unfortunate. And, people can't help but compare situations (like his previous divorce). So, you can't pretend, but can you empathize at all with him at all? Like it's sad for both of you that things didn't work out? That you understand he might be mad/hurt? That you're mad/hurt too?

DrFee :

How would he respond if you were real with your feelings?


 

DrFee :

And didn't pretend?


 

Customer:

I do empathize with him. I married him knowing about the first marriage and the ED. I convinced myself that all he needed was love, support and a hot young wife (14 years his junior) to get over it. I was wrong and it has hurt us both. He feels emasculated, I feel abandoned. We have never been able to bridge the gap, rather it has widened. I think this will drive him further into himself, away from relationships with others. That really saddens me, there is a wonderful man in there, I just haven't seen him in too long.

DrFee :

I assume he wasn't willing to try marriage counseling?


 

Customer:

Yes, I definitely see him being mad and hurt and confused and not knowing what to do about it. (more background, still typing)

Customer:

I have been depressed and in denial about the marriage for the last 2 years. I started self destructive behaviors and have been withdrawn from him, and my children. I finally confronted with in myself the source of my sadness, unhappy marriage, and told him I needed options. He agreed that, because I am bisexual, I could start being with women. Initially I was pleased. But the more I start to meet women, (have dated none yet) the more I realize that a) I am not polyamorous and b) I didn't get married to cheat on my husband.

DrFee :

Everything that you are saying sounds well thought out and clearly stated. It seems like it would be important to tell him everything you just told me --not that he hasn't heard it in one form or another previously, but it seems like you'd need to re-iterate it all to him.


 

Customer:

Yeah, I agree. If not for his father, I would tell him as soon as he gets back from a business trip tomorrow. I don't even want to join him for the funeral and play the good wife, but I am doing it out of respect to him and commitment to marriage.Back to my children: I have been hiding from my entire life recently, isolating from everyone. Part of why I want to tell them is so that they know the problem was not them. Not their fault and I want to reconnect with them. I want them to know that there is a solution, but it will be difficult.

DrFee :

My concern about telling them first is that he will find out and feel lied to. I agree that they are most important --and that it's critical that they know that they have nothing to do with it. But --I don't think you need to tell them first in order to give them that message. And, it would be great if he would give them that message as well.


 

DrFee :

And I agree that children shouldn't have to bear secrets ---


 

Customer:

I think my guilt wants to tell them now, but the protective parent wants to shelter them as long as possible. I just don't want them to say, "Why didn't you tell us sooner?" I am walking the razor's edge on this one.

DrFee :

If they ask that, you just say, "I told you as soon as I was able to"


 

DrFee :

Guilt is not a good reason to tell them.


 

Customer:

Yeah, I know. I can't make myself feel better at their expense. (sigh) OK. Well, I just realized that while my bipolar disorder treatment is still not covered under the per-existing conditions exclusion until November, this is a new issue and my (crappy) insurance should cover me seeing a counselor to finish sorting this out. I have gotten a lot more out of this exchange than I was expecting to. Thanks for that

DrFee :

I'm glad. It sounds like you have at least a first step to take in finding a counselor. I think that will help you a lot in terms of sorting all of this out (there's a lot)


 

DrFee :

If your insurance does not cover (it should though) you can look for a nonprofit counseling center with a sliding scale.


 

Customer:

Yeah, life does not become easier as one gets older. For the bipolar, I want a long term therapeutic relationship with a therapist. For this, shorter term brainstorming/ action planning should do the trick. Have a great day. I will sign off if you have nothing more to add.

DrFee :

I don't think I do --but best wishes to you. Don't forget it will get better at some point. Hang in there, you can make this transistion!


 

Customer:

Thanks. sksk

DrFee, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 437
Experience: I help people overcome anxiety and enjoy life again.
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