The stereotypical view of pregnancy, especially for married couples is of a joyous, celebrated milestone but it isn’t always like that. Pregnancy is sometimes the catalyst for leaving a marriage.
Today I’d like to introduce you to my next guest, Liv whose ten-year marriage ended about seven years ago. When Liv left, her son was just two years old and she was pregnant with her daughter. Here’s Liv talking about why she decided to leave when she did:
It was a big move. But I was in a really bad place before I found out I was pregnant and I had actually already been kind of lining things up to get out. I ended up getting really, really sick with the pregnancy. I don’t think I even told him that I was pregnant. At some point he realized that I was sick all the time and said, “You’re not pregnant.” And I said, “OK, I’m not pregnant.”
Then once I started to feel better I started planning again to leave. It was at a point where it was intolerable to me and I knew that bringing a second child into a marriage that I was already having difficulty with didn’t make sense. I knew that I was better off to go it alone.
My friends and my family were already aware and everybody was really supportive. I think the only one who was surprised by the whole thing was my ex-husband. Everybody kind of knew it was coming. They’d known him for long enough that I think that even in the background, even though they weren’t saying it to me, they knew that it was a good, good move.
My husband shows the traits of basic narcissism. He’s not as smart as your general narcissist but his world does revolve mostly around him. And he thinks that most people love and admire him. So to come to the sudden conclusion that possibly somebody does not, was a big surprise and a big shock for him.
In addition, he was raised in a Catholic household. I don’t know if religion played a big part in it, but I know his mom considered leaving a number of times but she didn’t because she was Catholic and it wasn’t proper. And because I’m technically Catholic as well I’m supposed to have the same feelings even though my parents were divorced I guess. So, he didn’t see it coming and the fact that there was a baby on the way made it worse. Clearly if you have a baby on the way and you’re making a family, you should stay. I think that’s how he felt.
It was very difficult when I left. We had and we still do have very bad communication issues. He would revolve between shouting at me most of the time and then wanted me to come back and then shouting at me and then wanting me to come back. And so I had to kind of compartmentalize everything.
The Divorce Coach Says
Leaving your marriage while pregnant may not seem like good timing but I’ve met others for whom expecting a child brings the reality of their marriage into sharp focus.
I’m not saying that events don’t play it into – they absolutely do but if you’re not emotionally ready then you’ll always find a reason not to make the leap. If you find yourself saying, “I can’t leave now because it’s Xxx’s birthday next month,” and then after the birthday you’re thinking, “I can’t leave now because it’s Spring break,” and so on, then it’s time to ask yourself what’s really holding you in your marriage?
I have two strategies for addressing this. The first is to list all your fears about leaving, whether it’s not having enough money, hurting your spouse’s feelings, upsetting the vacation plans, being embarrassed. List them all and then you can start working on each of these fears, understanding more about why you’re thinking the way you are and brainstorming possible solutions.
The second strategy is to change your thinking. Instead of thinking, “I can’t leave because …” start thinking, “I’ll be able to leave when …” Then list all the things that need to be in place for you to feel comfortable leaving. That might be, your child has started their new school, you’ve found a full-time job or you’ve made some financial preparations such as your own credit card and own bank account.
With respect to events, this is one of those situations where there is never a perfect time. No matter when it happens, it’s going to be painful and upsetting for you, your spouse, your children, your extended family and your friends. That being said, it’s still advisable to avoid significant occasions such as Thanksgiving, religious days, birthdays, and graduations. While it may not make any difference to you, if your decision is unexpected and unwanted, then the occasion will compound the emotional trauma of your decision on your STBX and may contribute to making a difficult life transition even more difficult.
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