I knew my husband of 14 years well and also knew that our marriage had issues that needed to be addressed. Even so, I felt blindsided when he expressed his desire for a divorce. We both made many mistakes when it came to dealing with the negative aspects of our marriage. I have always been someone who has a drive to fix problems.
My problem was, I was at a loss for how to fix our problems. I tried to engage him in communication, I gave him ultimatums and even, on two occasions threatened divorce myself out of frustration. In my mind, I was the only one putting any effort into solving our problems while he shut down and ignored the problems.
His problem when it came to addressing our marital problems? He was as lacking as I was in how to fix the problems. He was also a conflict avoider who couldn’t face the fact that there were problems. He found it easier to ignore problems, put on a happy face and carry on with the status quo.
Let me add a disclaimer here, he and I have never discussed our reason for a divorce. After he left and filed for a divorce I asked him to give me an explanation and was told, “I don’t owe you an explanation.” So, the information you read here is based on my perception of what happened in the marriage. In other words, you’re getting one side of the story which is all I ever got.
Bottom line, I think I hung in and thought the love we had for each other would trump the problems in the marriage. I thought we would eventually come to a meeting of the minds which would mean both of us meeting head on and solving the problems in the marriage. I was wrong.
For years I felt overwhelmed, hurt and stressed out because there seemed to be no way to fix what needed to be fixed on my own. The moment he began to feel overwhelmed, hurt and stressed out, he took a hike. So, I guess you could say, the biggest problem in our marriage was that one of us was more invested than the other.
When he told me he “didn’t owe me an explanation,” he also told me the marriage and putting it back together “wasn’t worth the effort.” That was great insight for me and I can remember thinking that I had spent years trying to save something that meant the world to me, and he had spent years avoiding working on the marriage because it wasn’t worth his time and effort.
I could go into detail about the problems in our marriage but I see no reason to. The problems we experienced aren’t the real story. The real story here is that you can’t save a marriage alone. If both parties to the marriage aren’t invested, the marriage is doomed from the beginning.
Conflict is a natural part of marriage. If one spouse avoids conflict at all cost, there is no solution for problems that arise. You end up with a vat filled with toxins that negatively impact the marriage a daily basis instead of solutions that bond spouses together and build on a foundation that promotes a healthy marriage. With my ex’s refusal to engage in conflict and solution finding, there was no way we would ever experience a healthy marriage.