When her husband was deployed with the Air Force, IronSpineSally was forced to take more responsibility for the household and in the process learned she was far more capable than she’d thought. Then came the falafel fire and the moment she knew she had to end her marriage. That can mean different things: for some it’s the start of face-to-face discussions, for others it means agreeing who’s going to move out. For IronSpineSally, it meant leaving a note and not going back. Here’s IronSpineSally to explain why she chose that way to leave:
In the interest of full disclosure, I did meet someone, not while my husband was deployed, before that. We had become very close friends and we would email back and forth and that became a little bit inappropriate on my end. I disclosed that to my husband. I wasn’t going to pursue that relationship because I wanted to try to save the marriage, but my husband latched onto that rather than address that we both had issues. He was going to just sit with that and accuse me of things, so it wasn’t worth it.
I left him in the worst way possible, because I left in the middle of the night when he wasn’t home, and I left him a letter.
Before I had left, before I had completely reached the conclusion that I was going to go, I had sat down with him because since he had come home, he had started getting angry all the time and he would throw things. He never hit me or anything like that, but he was overly angry about simple things, and it wasn’t PTSD. When that reached a head, I sat down with him and we talked and he said he resented this, that and the other thing about me, and I had said,
“Let’s try therapy then, and see because obviously there’s a problem with the two of us communicating and maybe we can fix this.”
And he said, “There’s no way I’m not going to pay someone to sit there and tell me I’m wrong about everything.”
He thought my therapist had “brainwashed” me.” He was very manipulative, he was very good at making me think that I never said things or making me think that there was money in our bank account when there wasn’t. It was very, very, very manipulative, like he controlled everything in the relationship.
I knew if I tried to have a face-to-face conversation with him, that he would either talk me into staying or talk me into thinking this was all me and there was nothing for him to work on. In fact, when we had that conversation, prior to me leaving, he said,
“All we need to do is have more conversations like this. If you just sit there and listen to what I have to say and do what I tell you to do, then everything is going to be fine.”
I knew either he would be explosively angry, and I didn’t want to confront that because I wasn’t sure where that would lead physically or he was going to be so manipulative that I was going to not be able to leave. So I wrote down everything I had to say and I put it in a letter.
I told him that I was going to stay with a friend for a few days and to please not contact me until a particular date, and if he wanted to attempt to work on things, then he could make an appointment with the therapist and let me know when it was and we could both show up there.
He ignored the fact that I asked him not to contact me until a particular date and called me the next day. They weren’t calls like “I really want to save this, I want to make it better.” He would call and say “I’m in charge, I’m going to pick the therapist. This is when we’re going to do it. You don’t tell me that I need to wait four days before contacting…” He was just terrible about it.
I just knew at that point there was no other way I could get out.
The Divorce Coach Says
There are some that would say leaving a letter is a coward’s way out but I think it’s important not to pass judgment. If you know you have to end your marriage then you have to find whatever way is possible for you to leave. That might mean leaving on your lunch hour like Emma, or getting your girlfriends and movers to help you move out in an hour like Swati or telling your husband you need a few days away, like Andrea. None of these may be considered the best option, but they are what worked for these women given their own circumstances.
In all these cases, there had been some discussions about the problems in the marriage – their SBTXs could not have been unaware of the issues. There is always the possibility that they just hadn’t been listening or had discounted the seriousness of the concerns.
It doesn’t always happen that way – Lorraine was blindsided when she came home to an eight word note from her husband who had left.
I think it is important to try and identify the underlying causes for the problems. That helps to bring understanding and clarity about the possibility for change. If your spouse is receptive, you can offer resources to help, like how to overcome PTSD.
If your spouse is not receptive to the help, then bluntly, they are choosing to accept your relationship as it is. Knowing that will help you make your decision.
Photo credit: Temari 09